TRAVELLERS face fines of up to £10,000 if they break strict 14-day quarantine rules after arriving back in the UK, say reports.
The news comes after it was revealed ministers are looking at introducing so-called “travel bridges” between countries with low infection rates.
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The Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the Government was currently looking at allowing people to fly between countries where the spread of the virus is low.
He said the plan of only allowing travel between certain nations was just one thing being looked at alongside the move to quarantine all arrivals for 14 days.
Everyone who comes into the UK will have to isolate for a fortnight under Government plans, which are set to begin in June.
And on Monday night it was reported those who breach the quarantine rules face fines ranging from £1,000 to £10,000.
Minister are even considering “unlimited fines” for persistent offenders, according to the Daily Telegraph.
“We want to send a very clear message to discourage people from breaching quarantine,” one unnamed Whitehall source was quoted as saying.
Only tourists from the common travel areas – like Ireland, Guernsey and Jersey – would be exempt.
And a “very limited” group of up to 30 professions would also be free of the restrictions.
It’s reported that would include thousands of lorry drivers bringing food, medicine and vital supplies into Britain.
Diplomats, defence personnel, specialist engineers, some police and customs officers and North Sea oil rig workers would also be exempt, it’s reported.
On Monday, Mr Shapps said in the House of Commons: “The final details of the quarantine scheme will be released soon, coming in early next month.”
And he added: “It is the case that we would indeed consider further improvements for example, things like air bridges, enabling people from other areas and countries who have themselves achieved lower levels of growth virus infection, to come into the country.
The idea of travel bridges to areas of low infection will give Brits a boost that if our rate of infections continues to fall, they may be able to jet off on a getaway in the coming months.
It is being discussed by the DoT after airline bosses slammed the strict quarantine requirements, warning it would kill the industry.
Travel corridors already been implemented between Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
Heathrow boss John Holland-Kaye previously told Sky News that holidays needed to resume sooner rather than later, and warned against the 14-day quarantine plans.
He told Sky New: “We need to start planning ahead for how we start to reopen our borders so we can start to get the economy back on its feet.”
If there were two countries with a low risk of transmission in each country, “there should be a free flow on passenger between those countries”, he suggested.
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“That is the kind of thing we could be thinking about for the next phase in a month or so’s time, as we see the infection rates coming down in this country, and we want to start opening up the economy again,” he added.
Which countries this could apply to is yet to be revealed, but it is thought that high risk countries such as Spain and states in the US such as New York would not be included – both with high cases of coronavirus.
Similar agreements are also being considered between Australia and New Zealand, while the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Croatia are also considering limited travel between each other.