Home Office lays out quarantine rules

Chamber News

The Home Office and Department for Transport published the rules covering quarantine restrictions today.

The quarantine measures require arrivals to the UK to self-isolate for 14 days and will come into force on June 8.

The government insists they are “designed to prevent new cases [of coronavirus] being brought in from abroad and to prevent a second wave of the virus”.

All arrivals “bar a shortlist of exemptions” will be required to complete an online locator form, with contact and travel details and the address where they will self-isolate.

The UK’s Border Force will undertake checks and may refuse entry to any non-resident foreign nationals who refuse to comply.

The rules exclude travellers to and from Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands.

They will be reviewed every three weeks, with the first review by June 29.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “Protecting the public’s health and avoiding a second peak that overwhelms the NHS will always be our top priority.

“As we get the virus under control here, we must manage the risk of cases being imported from abroad. We owe it to the thousands who’ve lost their lives.”

She insisted: “These measures are informed by science, backed by the public and will keep us safe.

“We will take a number of factors into account within the reviews to satisfy that the risk of imported cases is low.”

These factors will include:

The rate of infection and transmission internationally and “the credibility of the reporting measures international partners have put in place”;

Levels of imported cases in other countries where there are more relaxed border measures;

The degree to which antibody and other testing methodologies prove effective in minimising the health risk.

Patel said: “We will also continue to take account of the impact on the economy and industry.”

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps confirmed the government is examining “arrangements known as ‘air bridges’ or international travel corridors which would remove self-isolation measures and safely open up routes to and from countries with low transmission rates”.

These would require agreement with individual countries, he said, adding: “We are working with the transport industry to see how we can introduce agreements with other countries when safe to do so, so we can go abroad and tourists can come here.”

Fred Olsen chief appeals to government to support cruise lines

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines also known as 'Fred. Olsen', 'Fred. Olsen ...

The boss of Fred Olsen Cruise Lines has called on the government to provide more support for the cruise industry.

With cruise operations suspended until May 23 during the coronavirus pandemic, the UK-based cruise line has been forced to dock its four ships.

Peter Deer, Fred Olsen’s managing director, praised the government for the schemes it had introduced to ease cash flow constraints on companies across the country but appealed for further help to be extended to the cruise sector.

UK chancellor Rishi Sunak said the government was prepared to enter negotiations with individual airlines to discuss “bespoke support as a last resort” last week.

Speaking to Travel Weekly, Deer said: “As a cruise line you hear quite a lot about the airline industry receiving funding from the government. We’re quite a passive bunch. I suspect our margins are better but lining up ships is not a cheap thing to do.

“The government needs to recognise that cruise is a big part of travel in the UK and find ways to support it.”

He called for lobbying from “every angle”, adding: “This is a hairy time for every cruise line, particularly the ones that have brought in new tonnage. It makes your life a bit tougher.”

In Fred Olsen’s 2021-22 brochure, the line offers departures from five UK ports – Southampton, Newcastle, Dover, Liverpool and Edinburgh.

Fred Olsen Cruises Ocean cruises cruise line review - Which?

Deer outlined how food, fuel and other services are bought by Fred Olsen from UK businesses.

Deer added: “We are worth a huge amount to the UK market. When we talk about a holiday environment, money is spent on that destination but with a cruise line that money is spent on a ship.

“It would be great to see some positive spin from the government.”

Asked if Fred Olsen was preparing for a “bounce back” in terms of consumer demand later this year, Deer said: “I think at some point we will see it, but it is all about consumer confidence. People do not have the will to think about their holiday in the short-term.

“They do not know when this event is going to subside. Everyone wants to go on holiday but they need some confidence that the virus is going to disappear.”

Deer said that it was “too early” for targeted marketing but added that the business was still trying to remain at the forefront of customers’ minds.

“We are just talking about our company and what we are doing,” he said. “It is a broader approach.

“People will see if cruises go-ahead before they commit their money.

“People may not do long-haul fly-cruises. They may look to the Mediterranean or the Canaries. I think people just do not know.”