Travel

Coronavirus travel: What counts as an essential journey?

Coronavirus restrictions are in force across the country in a bid for authorities to get a handle on rising rates and deaths as a result of the pandemic. Travellers returning to the UK from high-risk countries will be forced to quarantine in Government-selected hotels for a period of 10 days. For the most part, travel is banned, but what exactly counts as an essential journey?

Britons will be required to declare a “valid reason” for travel or face fines according to the Home Secretary Priti Patel.

She added declarations would be checked by carriers and there would be increased police at airports and ports.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced plans to require returning UK nationals and residents to self-isolate if they are coming from red list high-risk countries.

Mr Johnson said: “I want to make clear that under the stay at home regulations it is illegal to leave home to travel abroad for leisure purposes and we will enforce this at ports and airports by asking people why they are leaving and instructing them to return home if they do not have a valid reason to travel.

“We have also banned all travel from 22 countries where there is a risk of known variants including South Africa, Portugal and South American nations, and in order to reduce the risk posed by UK nationals and residents returning home from these countries, I can announce that we will require all such arrivals who cannot be refused entry to isolate in government-provided accommodation – such as hotels – for ten days without exception.

“They will be met at the airport and transported directly into quarantine.”

READ MORE: Coronavirus Kent strain symptoms: The 15 signs and hospital risk

Ms Patel was keen to emphasise going on holiday was not a valid reason.

She said: “We will introduce a new requirement so that people wishing to travel must first make a declaration as to why they need to travel.

“This reason for travel will be checked by carriers prior to departure and this approach effectively mirrors the checks on arrivals that are already in place with the passenger locator form.”

Police checks at home addresses will be increased to ensure arrivals are complying with self-isolation rules, and the UK will continue to refuse entry to non-UK citizens from “red list” countries which were already subject to the travel ban.

READ MORE: Which countries are banned from entering the UK? Priti Patel update

Which places are included as the red list countries where quarantine hotel stays will be mandated.

The full list of “red list” countries are Angola, Argentina, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Cape Verde, Chile, Colombia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ecuador, Eswatini, French Guiana, Guyana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Portugal, Seychelles, South Africa, Suriname, Tanzania, Uruguay, Venezuela, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Quarantine hotels are already in effect in countries like New Zealand and Australia.

These measures are introduced to eliminate the transmission of the virus within their borders.


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Daily Express

The Daily Express is a daily national middle-market tabloid newspaper in the United Kingdom. Published in London, it is the flagship of Express Newspapers, owned by publisher Reach plc. It was first published as a broadsheet in 1900 by Sir Arthur Pearson. Its sister paper, the Sunday Express, was launched in 1918.

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