Patel says quarantine ‘essential’ for arrivals to the UK

Home Secretary Priti Patel has defended plans to require most people arriving in the UK to quarantine for 14 days, saying they were “essential” to save lives.

Ms Patel is under pressure from Tory MPs who have warned that the measures – which are coming into force on Monday – will cause huge damage to the travel and aviation sectors as they recover from the coronavirus outbreak.

But publishing the detailed regulations for England in the House of Commons, she said they were “backed by the science” and were crucial to ensure the gains made in fighting the virus were not lost.

They include fixed penalty notices of £1,000 or prosecution for anyone who breaches their self-isolation requirements.

Coronavirus
Priti Patel said the regulations are backed by the science (House of Commons/PA)

Ms Patel said the devolved administrations for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland would be laying their own regulations to set out their enforcement approaches.

“We trust the British people – and our visitors – to play their part, to act responsibly and follow the rules to control the spread of coronavirus,” she said.

“But we will not allow a reckless minority to put our recovery at risk – so there will be penalties and enforcement for those who break them.”

Ms Patel acknowledged the requirements would present difficulties for the tourism industry but said they would be kept under regular review to ensure they remained “proportionate and necessary”.

And she said they were looking at measures that would allow greater freedom in future – including establishing “international travel corridors” with countries that were deemed safe.

“These measures are backed by the science, supported by the public, and essential to save lives,” she said.

“We know they will present difficulties for the tourism industry, but that’s why we have an unprecedented package of support, the most comprehensive in the world, for both employees and businesses.

“But we will all suffer if we get this wrong. That’s why it’s crucial that we introduce these measures now.”

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