Yesterday saw the start of the enforcement of a two-week quarantine period for anyone arriving in the UK by plane, ferry, or train except for arrivals from the Republic of Ireland.
The rules, which will be backed by fines of up to £1000, have not been welcomed by the travel industry and some MPs. However, Home Secretary Priti Patel said the move would protect public health now that imported coronavirus “pose a more significant threat”.
The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) is echoing the cautious sentiment of business to the government that the safe re-establishment of connections to key markets and trade partners must now be a top priority.
‘Air bridges’ must be put in place swiftly for the sake of the many industries and livelihoods that depend on the UK’s connectivity across the world. Any review process should consult widely with affected business communities across the UK.
Co-ordinated checks at departure and arrival airports, together with other internationally agreed safety measures, would alleviate the need for a blanket quarantine affecting arrivals from every country around the world.
As the rules also cover UK citizens returning home employers need to be mindful of working arrangements with staff before they travel. Employees who cannot work from home are eligible for statutory sick pay if they meet the required conditions.
Employers also need to be mindful that they have an appropriate quarantine policy in place.
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