The COVID-19 pandemic led the UK to implement stricter measures to those arriving, informing that those arriving in the country will have to book a hotel and stay in quarantine from the point of their arrival. The day of arrival in England will be treated as day zero.
The UK MCA notes that
This guidance is for people arriving in England who have visited or passed through a country where travel to the UK is banned (sometimes called ‘red list’ countries in the 10 days before their arrival.
Moreover, people are banned from travelling to the UK under the condition that they have travelled or passed from a country where travel to the UK is banned in the last 10 days, unless they are:
- a British national
- an Irish national
- anyone with residence rights in the UK
From 15 February onwards, everyone allowed to enter England who has visited or passed through a country where travel to the UK is banned in the last 10 days must:
- quarantine for 10 days in a managed quarantine hotel
- take a coronavirus (COVID-19) test on or before day 2 and on or after day 8 of quarantining
- follow the national lockdown rules
Providing false or deliberately misleading information when filling out your passenger locator form is an offence punishable by imprisonment.
It is added that you could be fined up to £10,000, imprisoned for up to 10 years, or both, if you do not provide accurate details about the countries you have visited in the 10 days before you arrived in the UK. In addition, if you break the quarantine rules you may face a penalty of up to £10,000.
Beginning February 15, the UK requires people of British or Irish national, or third country national with residence rights in the UK that have passed from “red list” country in the 10 days before their arrival, to quarantine in a managed quarantine hotel, unless they are exempt.
What you need to do before you arrive in England
Before you travel you must:
- take a coronavirus (COVID-19) test and get a negative result during the 3 days before you travel. You must take the test in the 3 days before the service on which you will arrive in England departs. For example, if you travel directly to England on Friday, you must take the test on the Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday
- book a managed quarantine hotel where you will quarantine. Your quarantine package will include your managed quarantine hotel, quarantine transport and your travel test package for COVID-19 tests on day 2 and day 8 of quarantine
- complete a passenger locator form with details of where you will quarantine when you arrive. You must provide a quarantine package booking reference number to complete your passenger locator form.
You will need to agree to pay for, and book, a quarantine package before you complete your passenger locator form and board your return journey to the UK.
UK MCA adds that those facing financial difficulties as a result of this charge, there will be an opportunity to apply for a deferred repayment plan when booking. This is only available if they already receive income-related benefits, and they will be required to pay back your debt to the government in 12 monthly installments.
Where you can arrive
If you’re required to quarantine in a quarantine hotel you can only arrive in England at certain ports of entry. Currently these are:
- Heathrow Airport
- Gatwick Airport
- London City Airport
- Birmingham Airport
- Farnborough Airport
- Other ports of entry may be added in the future.
If you have a pre-existing booking to a different port of entry on or after the 15 February it’s your responsibility to change it to one of the ports of entry specified above. After 15 February carriers will not be permitted to carry anyone who has been in a red list country in the previous 10 days to any other port of entry other than those specified,
… UK MCA notes.
It is explained that people intending to continue their journey directly to a country outside of the Common Travel Area (UK, Republic of Ireland, Isle of Man and the Channel Islands) then they do not need to book a quarantine package or enter managed quarantine.
If necessary, you may travel straight from your port of arrival to another port in England to catch a flight, train or ferry going outside of the Common Travel Area, but you must take precautions to prevent the risk of virus transmission. These include:
- keeping your distance and observing social contact rules
- washing or sanitising your hands regularly
- wearing a face covering that covers your nose and mouth (this is required by law unless you’re exempt)
- planning ahead and avoiding the busiest routes, as well as busy times like the rush hour.