Quarantine farce: Not a single fine issued – backlash at lockdown rules

And with just one in five passengers being checked, an MP has said the revelation proves the measure was “unenforceable and ill-judged”. All air and port passengers arriving in the UK must self-isolate for 14 days and those flouting the rules could be hit with £1,000 fines. But the Daily Express has learned that, as of June 22, no fines have been issued by police or border officials.

Ministers have insisted it is essential to prevent a second wave of cases from abroad.

But the figure heaps more pressure on ministers who faced repeated warnings that quarantine would devastate the travel industry.

According to Public Health England, arrivals have severely restricted levels of movement – meaning they are only able to go out to collect food or medicine.

But the Daily Express understands, that if a PHE official phones while they are out, they will try again several times before alerting authorities.

Sources say this is to determine whether they have a legitimate excuse not to be at home.

Only if there are repeated attempts to avoid PHE will the police be informed about a potential breach of the quarantine rules.

Public Health England has started follow-up checks, officials say, and “early indications are there is a high level of compliance”.

Henry Smith MP, chair of the Future of Aviation Group and Conservative MP for Crawley, said: “These revelations show that the 14-day quarantine policy is as unenforceable as it is ill-judged and mistimed.

“Many from across all sides of the political divide, business and industry have raised significant and serious concerns about the quarantine and this reinforces that the Government must introduce air bridges at the earliest possible opportunity. We cannot have a full economic recovery without a thriving aviation sector.”

Paul Charles of the Quash Quarantine campaign group said: “This policy is like a stand-up comic routine. It is just staggering.

“These figures, or the lack of them, prove it is unenforceable and no one in authority is bothering to check up on anyone coming into the country.

“I don’t believe the one in five figure. People are filling in forms with location details but those forms are not being checked.

“I hope the resources are going into test and trace and not into checking the 14-day quarantine.

“It is very encouraging the government will announce air bridges on Monday.

“But I would rather there is a pan-European travel corridor. You can’t stop someone flying to Madrid and driving to Portugal.”

Most of Western Europe is due to be on an initial list of countries whose residents will be exempt from quarantine when ministers announce the introduction of air bridges – also known as travel corridors – next week.

Those likely to be on the list include France, Italy, Spain, Greece, Belgium, Germany, Norway, the Netherlands, Turkey and Finland, but not Portugal.

Restrictions are likely to be lifted early next month.

Portugal will probably not be included owing to a rise in the number of new cases in and around the capital, Lisbon.

Sweden is also unlikely to be on the list because the infection rate there is higher than in the UK.

Discussions are continuing to see if a bridge withAustralia is possible.

Yesterday, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said introducing air bridges is a “massive priority”.

He added: “I understand entirely the pain that aviation is going through. I know both for airports, for airlines and actually for ground handlers as well, this coronavirus has been a complete disaster.”

A Public Health England spokesperson said: “The Isolation Assurance Service, which was set up by PHE, will contact around 20 percent of non-exempted arrivals.

“The Home Office is considering what data will be provided in relation to the border measures.

“It will set out further detail in due course.”



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