Quarantine rules for UK arrivals come into effect

Unite: New quarantine rules places ‘moral duty’ on government to support aviation

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The government’s new rules requiring people who travel into Britain from abroad to quarantine for 14 days has come into effect today (June 8).

From today, passengers arriving into the UK on planes, ferries and trains from abroad will be required to fill out an online locator form giving their contact and travel information, including the address of where they will self-isolate for two weeks.

Failure to comply with the new rules could result in a fine of up to £1,000. Foreign nationals not resident in the UK could be denied entry by UK Border Force if they refuse to follow the rules. Failure to complete the online locator form will be punished with a fixed penalty notice of £100.

The regulations will be reviewed every three weeks and could be in place for up to a year when the legislation is set to expire, unless the government decides to scrap the rules before then.

There are a number of exemptions to the new quarantine rules, including those in government or defence business, foreign diplomats, regular international commuters, lorry drivers, medical workers and fruit pickers, among others.

The quarantine regulations will come as a further blow to the civil aviation industry which has all but ground to a halt amid the UK-wide lockdown. Already thousands of people have lost their jobs in the industry.

Unite has argued that the government must introduce a package of support for the aviation sector ‘as a moral duty’. It noted that the introduction of quarantine at a time when many airlines were beginning to gear up to begin flying again, is a clear case of a government policy directly delaying an industry’s ability to recover from the pandemic.

Unite and the vast majority of the airline industry have additional concerns over the absence of published medical evidence for quarantining is lacking, especially in relation to countries where the infection rate of Covid-19 is far lower than in the UK.

Unite believes that the government should be introducing measures to restore confidence in the industry and encourage people to begin flying again.

These could include the creation of so-called air bridges with countries with low infection rates, or the introduction of effective track and tracing all of which will help to generate confidence and will boost a return to flying.

Unite national officer Oliver Richardson said, “Covid-19 is the greatest challenge the aviation sector has ever faced and the government’s introduction of quarantine further adds to it.

“This only reinforces the fact that the government has a moral duty to support the aviation industry during this time of crisis, as it has promised to do on numerous occasions,” he added.

“While we are not questioning medically based measures, Unite is supportive of positive measures such as air bridges and effective track and tracing all of which help to generate confidence and will boost a return to flying.

“The aviation sector is crying out for an integrated plan a financial support programme to get it back on its feet and is looking to the government for that leadership.”

Unite has produced a blueprint of how the government should intervene across the entire aviation sector including airlines and airports to protect the jobs and conditions of workers. Such loans would come with strict strings attached regarding executive pay, corporate governance and requiring stringent environmental standards to be adopted to radically reduce the industry’s carbon footprint.

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