Overseas arrivals could face £1,000 fines if they fail to quarantine for 14 days

International travellers could face spot checks and £1,000 fines if they fail to self-isolate for 14 days after arriving in the UK under measures to guard against a second wave of coronavirus.

Home Secretary Priti Patel is expected to outline the plans – which will be introduced early next month – at the daily Downing Street briefing on Friday, a senior Government official confirmed.

Exemptions for road hauliers and medical officials will apply, while the common travel area with Ireland will be unaffected. Arrivals from France will not be exempt, the official confirmed, following confusion earlier this week.

Coronavirus
Home Secretary Priti Patel is expected to outline the plans at the Downing Street press conference on Friday (Pippa Fowles/10 Downing Street/Crown Copyright)

Travellers will be asked to fill in a form with their contact information, and health officials will perform spot checks to ensure compliance with the measures.

The move will anger some sectors, with Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary earlier this week branding the plan “idiotic” and “unimplementable”, while trade body Airlines UK has previously said a quarantine “would effectively kill” international travel to and from Britain.

Meanwhile, the scientific advice given to the Government which informed proposals to send some pupils back to school from June 1 will be published.

The Sun newspaper reported that the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) papers will suggest teachers are at no greater risk of catching coronavirus than other key workers.

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Coronavirus-related deaths in hospitals in England (PA Graphics)

The publication of the advice follows concern from teaching unions and council leaders about the Government’s plans to allow children in nursery, Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 to return to school from next month.

In other developments:

– Health Secretary Matt Hancock said around one in six people in London and one in 20 elsewhere in England have already had coronavirus – and revealed that certificates are being looked at for people who test positive for antibodies.

– Mr Hancock also said more than 10 million antibody tests will start being rolled out next week and will first be offered to health and social care staff as well as patients and care home residents.

– A trial of a rapid 20-minute test to tell people if they currently have Covid-19 was launched.

– A new study suggested that a blood test could help track a person’s immune response to Covid-19, allowing doctors to identify at an early stage who might need additional treatment or critical care.

– England’s chief medical officer, Professor Chris Whitty, said excess deaths in care homes during the coronavirus pandemic have peaked and “come down a long way”.

– The nation took to the doorstep for the ninth week in a row to clap for NHS carers and key workers who have put their lives at risk fighting Covid-19.

It comes after Boris Johnson performed a U-turn to exempt overseas health and care staff from the fee levied on migrants to pay for the NHS following mounting pressure from senior Tories.

Downing Street said the Prime Minister has asked officials at the Home Office and the Department for Health and Social Care to remove health and care workers from the surcharge “as soon as possible”.

Full details will be announced in the coming days, a Number 10 spokesman said.

Mr Johnson “has been thinking about this a great deal” and as a “personal beneficiary of carers from abroad” he understands the difficulties faced by our amazing NHS staff, the spokesman said.

“The purpose of the NHS surcharge is to benefit the NHS, help to care for the sick and save lives.

“NHS and care workers from abroad who are granted visas are doing this already by the fantastic contribution which they make.”

The £400 surcharge remains in place for other categories of visa applicants and will increase to £624 in October, as planned.

The change will apply to all NHS workers, ranging from medical health staff to vital porters and cleaners.

It also includes independent health workers and social care workers.

The U-turn comes after senior Tories demanded change, with former party chairman Lord Patten calling it “appalling” and “monstrous”.

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