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Do not enforce a compulsory quarantine on people arriving in the UK

Submitted by Andres Ezequiel Celati on Monday 11th May 2020

Published on Thursday 28th May 2020

Current status: Open

Open until: Saturday 28th November 2020

Current Signatures: 13,111
(count is updated approximately hourly)

Relevant Departments

Tagged with

care home ~ care homes ~ collapse ~ Covid ~ Covid-19 ~ Economy ~ Government ~ hospitality ~ Individuals ~ quarantine ~ testing ~ The Government ~ Thousands ~ UK

Petition Action

Do not enforce a compulsory quarantine on people arriving in the UK

Petition Details

Instead, the Government should focus on increasing testing capabilities, ensuring hospitals and care homes are well equipped, and helping businesses and individuals gradually resume their activities so the economy can start recovering.

Additional Information

The damage this extreme and all-encompassing measure could cause could far outweigh any potential benefits.

The hospitality industry is already struggling with thousands of jobs at risk and many businesses on the brink of collapse.

Enforcing a compulsory quarantine so late in the fight against coronavirus is counterproductive. Tourism and business travellers are key to relaunching the economy. Imposing a self-quarantine significantly reduces incoming travel with catastrophic consequences.

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Government Response

The Government responded to this petition on Tuesday 8th September 2020

Ensuring the safety of the wider UK and travelling public must remain our priority. Our approach has balanced the risks of imported Covid-19 cases whilst also supporting the travel and tourism sector.

Effective from 8 June, border health measures have been in place for entering the UK. The rules cover UK residents and visitors. Passengers need to provide journey and contact details when travelling to the UK and are not allowed to leave the place they are staying for the first 14 days (self-isolation) except in very limited situations. As public health matters are devolved, the Government worked closely with the Devolved Administrations to build a four nations approach, and broadly equivalent measures were introduced by the administrations in each of the nations on the same date.

The Joint Biosecurity Centre (JBC), in close consultation with Public Health England (PHE) and the Chief Medical Officer, has developed an approach to assessing the public health risk associated with inbound travel from specific countries and territories. The resulting categorisation methodology has been informed by a number of factors including an estimate of the proportion of the population that is currently infectious in each country, trends in virus incidences and deaths, transmission status and international epidemic intelligence. We have also considered issues such as the testing capacity of each country and the quality of the data available. Data has been used from official sources in each country and modelling by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, as well as from Public Health England and the National Travel Health Network and Centre. Other data sources may be used in the future.

On 29 June the Government confirmed that it would shortly begin to ease the health measures at the UK border, allowing passengers to be exempted from self-isolation requirements in certain circumstances on arrival in the UK. This would apply to people arriving on all forms of transport. On 6 July the Government set out plans in more detail to end the self-isolation requirement for arrivals from certain countries and territories into England, where the risk of importing Covid-19 is sufficiently low. These measures came into force on 10 July following amendments to the regulations. The list of country exemptions remains under review and the Government has added further countries to the list where it has been safe to do so.

With regards to testing international arrivals, the Government recently announced that it is considering whether and how a testing regime could be developed to reduce the self-isolation period for international arrivals from non-exempt countries.

We recognise that these are extremely difficult conditions for tourism businesses. The Government is committed to helping the tourism industry through this crisis and during the recovery period. Ministers and officials are engaging with the industry about the impacts and recovery on a regular basis.

The Government continues to support businesses in the tourism sector through one of the most generous economic packages provided anywhere in the world. We have always recognised that the measures we’ve taken to limit the spread of Covid-19 will have a substantial impact on our economy, including sectors like tourism, but that was essential to protect our NHS and save lives.

Border measures are only part of our plan to supress coronavirus: alongside these we are rapidly expanding our NHS Test and Trace programme and are carefully monitoring when and whether to change social distancing measures.

Sadly, and unexpectedly, the health situation in Europe is worsening and we are reacting rapidly to end country exemptions to the self-isolation requirements if the evidence supports doing so. We will always put the health of the public first.

Home Office

This is a revised response. The Petitions Committee requested a response which more directly addressed the request of the petition. You can find the original response towards the bottom of the petition page (https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/320329)

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