Boris Govt Won’t Require Quarantines for Airport Arrivals Until June

LONDON - JULY 23: A British Airways plane comes in to land at Heathrow Airport July 23, 2003 in London, England. Thousands of airline passengers had suffered delays as British Airways attemted to return services to normal after an unofficial walkout by British Airways staff. British Airways has introduced a …
Scott Barbour/Getty Images

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to announce that the United Kingdom will only begin imposing mandatory quarantine of airport arrivals in June, three months after the nation was placed under effective house arrest due to the Chinese coronavirus pandemic.

The Prime Minister will announce on Sunday that those entering the country by air and sea will be required to self-quarantine for fourteen days, despite government sources claiming that the border restrictions would be put in place this month.

All arrivals will need to provide a digital form to immigration officials giving an address for where they intend to carry out the quarantine. Those found breaking the quarantine will face a fine of up to £1,000 as well as possible deportation.

“These measures will help protect the British public and reduce the transmission of the virus as we move into the next phase of our response,” a government source told The Times.

Boris Johnson is also expected to announce an easing of some lockdown restrictions, including the lifting of limits on daily exercise and the opening of garden centres, yet most restrictions will remain in place until June when the government is expected to begin a phased opening of schools. The government is planning to drop the coronavirus slogan “stay at home, save lives” as well.

Mr Johnson’s government has faced criticism for keeping the borders open to all countries throughout the pandemic, failing to perform even minimal health checks for those arriving at airports, and not requiring them to self-quarantine for any length of time.

Virtually all of Britain’s contemporaries, including Australia, Greece, New Zealand, and Singapore, implemented quarantines for airport arrivals long ago.

Public Health England (PHE) and members of the British government have claimed in the past that quarantines and health checks would have been ineffective in slowing the spread of the virus because of the rate at which it was spreading through the country. The fact that the government will finally begin introducing quarantines suggests that this was not the reality.

Since the national lockdown was introduced on March 23rd, an estimated 100,000 unchecked people have continued to pour into the country through the nation’s airports every week.

Home Office figures recently revealed that between January 1st and March 22nd of this year, just 273 of the estimated 18.1 million people that entered the country were placed under quarantine.

The United Kingdom has been one of the hardest-hit countries in the world by the Chinese coronavirus, with over 31,000 confirmed deaths. Modelling has suggested that the true number of people that have died is over 55,000, as the government does not count all coronavirus deaths.

Brexit Party Leader Nigel Farage said that the outsized coronavirus pandemic in the United Kingdom was a direct result of the government’s decisions to keep the borders open.

“Huge numbers of people [are] coming into our airports from all over the world without a single piece of testing, of quarantining,” Mr Farage said.

“I’m quite certain that when we have an inquiry into this, in months or years to come, we will see that we allowed ourselves to import this disease and the British government did nothing,” he added.

Follow Kurt on Twitter at @KurtZindulka

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