UK quarantine rules caused outrage earlier this month, as Home Secretary Priti Patel chose to impose a two-week self-isolation period for all who hope to enter the country. The decision has brought widespread outrage from a range of sectors, with business leaders and officials alike complaining it could affect economic recovery. The cabinet is facing rebellion from within its own party, as Tory ministers have also led calls to repeal the policy.
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Current rules compel anyone visiting or returning to the UK self-isolate for two weeks on arrival.
Whether it be in a home or hotel, people must stay put for the entire period, during which officials will conduct spot checks to confirm compliance.
Disobedience warrants a hefty £1,000 fine and effectively rules out tourism from other countries.
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The two-week rule means people cannot enjoy the country unless their break is much longer, with the average holiday lasting the duration of the imposed self-isolation.
As such, businesses have expected they will struggle to recoup lockdown losses as the Government attempts to breathe new life into the economy.
One answer to the problem touted by officials is the idea of an “air corridor” which would see the UK share quarantine-less travel routes with a buddy country.
French President Emmanuel Macron touched down in the UK today as the first foreign premier to visit since the coronavirus pandemic began, igniting hopes of an air corridor with the other side of the channel.
Mr Macron will become one of the highest opponents to the quarantine rule today, as pundits expect he will to make a plea with Boris Johnson.
The visit is his first international trip since the coronavirus epidemic began and will see him join with the Prime Minister to commemorate the 80th anniversary of French general Charles de Gaulle’s wartime pact declaration with the UK.
While here, he will deliver the Legion of Honour merit to the country and discuss matters of international importance in bilateral talks with the Prime Minister.
His government has enacted a voluntary quarantine in France for visiting Brits, and he will likely ask Mr Johnson to consider the same.
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Whether this will amount to quarantine-free travel between the nations or another agreement is unclear.
Speaking ahead of today’s meeting, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the Government would “carefully” look at the policy.
He said: “We’re going to look at it very carefully.
“As we’ve always said, the quarantine is there to stop the risk of reinfection precisely because we’ve got COVID down.”
“We want to open up as soon as we safely and responsibly can and we will look at all the mechanisms to do so and of course we’ll have a good conversation with the French.
“I’ll be in Berlin tomorrow so we’re talking to all of our European partners about these things.”
The UK and France were two of the worst-affected European countries during the coronavirus pandemic, with each still experiencing daily cases.
While officials have spoken out against international comparisons, France has seen overall fewer deaths with 29,547 to the UK’s 42,513.