“These measures will help protect the British public"
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson unveiled the new lockdown measures on May 10, 2020, and also said that air travellers entering Britain will face a 14-day quarantine period.
Mr Johnson outlined “conditional” steps towards easing the lockdown imposed on the country following the Coronavirus outbreak.
He said: “To prevent re-infection from abroad, I’m serving notice that it will soon be the time – with transmission significantly lower – to impose quarantine on people coming into this country by air.”
The PM added that the government would “not hesitate to put on the brakes” if the situation deteriorated.
The measures are likely to come into force in early June. Air travellers will have to provide the address where they will self-isolate on arrival.
A government source said: “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.”
Airlines UK said the move requires a “credible exit plan” and should be reviewed weekly.
Airport operators have criticised the introduction of a 14-day quarantine period, saying it could have a “devastating” impact on the aviation industry and the broader economy.
Airlines UK chief Tim Alderslade said: “We all, including government, need to adapt to the ‘new normal’.
“But closing off air travel in this way is not the way to achieve this.
“Ministers are effectively telling people they can no longer travel for the foreseeable future and airlines will respond to that by grounding their operations.”
Airport operators said a quarantine would compound damage done by the virus to the aviation industry as it would put people off travelling when lockdown restrictions are lifted.
Airlines UK said it would seek assurances that the move is “led by the science” and that airlines would need support measures to ensure the aviation sector gets through the quarantine period.
Pilots union BALPA said it was concerned that the commercial impact had not been thought through by the government.
BALPA general secretary Brian Strutton said there are “too many open questions” and a quarantine proposal would “put even more pressure on the industry”.
Airlines UK has urged for government support for the industry which included deferral of air passenger duty and extension of job-retention initiatives.
The Board of Airline Representatives in the UK said a considered plan would need to replace any quarantine measures.
BAR UK chief executive Dale Keller said:
“Flying can only recommence in any meaningful way once the 14-day self-isolation requirement is superseded by a carefully co-ordinated and internationally-harmonised approach.”
He went on to say that such an approach would incorporate a series of “multi-layered and more effective measures” to target and mitigate risk and provide “the confidence that flying is safe”.
Travellers from Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man are exempt from the quarantine, as well as lorry drivers bringing crucial supplies.
It said that the authorities would carry out spot checks and those found to be breaking the rules would face fines or deportation.