The UK's 14-day mandatory quarantine for all incoming international travellers, including from India, will come into effect from June 8 as the country internally begins to gradually ease its coronavirus lockdown.
"Now we are getting the virus under control, there is a risk that cases from abroad could make up a greater proportion of cases in the UK," said Boris Johnson.
The UK Prime Minister also confirmed ongoing discussions with countries on a bilateral basis for potential air corridors in future to allow quarantine-free travel within so-called “air bridges”.
UK Home Secretary Priti Patel laid out details of the plans before the House of Commons this week and confirmed that the two-week self-isolation measure will apply to all travellers until the policy is set for its first review on June 28. The Cabinet minister stressed that the new measures, which have faced criticism from the aviation industry as well as from MPs within the ruling Conservative Party, are designed to prevent new cases being brought in from abroad and to prevent a second wave of the virus.
She said: “Protecting the public's health and avoiding a second peak that overwhelms the NHS [National Health Service] will always be our top priority,” said Patel.
“As we get the virus under control here, we must manage the risk of cases being imported from abroad. We owe it to the thousands who've lost their lives not to throw away our progress.”
Under the new rules, all arrivals except a short list of exemptions, will be required to complete an online locator form to supply contact details, travel details and the address of where they will self-isolate for 14 days. Where international travellers are unable to safely self-isolate in their own accommodation, the UK government says it will support them to find appropriate accommodation at their own expense.
Such passengers could be contacted regularly throughout the isolation period to ensure compliance. Public Health England (PHE) will contact people at random to ensure they understand the requirements and are self-isolating. Removal from the country would be considered as a last resort for foreign nationals who refuse to comply with these public health measures, the Home Office said.
Anyone failing to comply with the mandatory conditions may face enforcement action and a breach of self-isolation would be punishable with a £1,000 fixed penalty notice in England or potential prosecution and unlimited fine.
The UK's Border Force will undertake checks at the border and may refuse entry to any non-resident foreign nationals who refuse to comply with these regulations. Failure to complete the locator form is also punishable by a £100 fixed penalty notice.