Dhaka: The United Kingdom's quarantine for inbound tourists is to play pivotal role in avoiding a second wave of COVID-19 outbreak in the country, Home Minister Priti Patel and Transport Minister Grant Shapps said in a newspaper column.
Under the plans, all international arrivals, including returning Britons, will have to self-isolate for 14 days and provide details of where they will be staying, starting from June 8.
Even though it is being criticised by airlines, business groups and politicians, Patel and Shapps on June 2 insisted the travel restrictions were crucial in the country which has the world's second-highest death toll. "We will all suffer if we get this wrong," the ministers said.
On arrival in the UK, passengers will need to provide travel details and contact information. "There will be spot checks and fines," Patel and Shapps wrote, adding there was a lot of "misinformed speculation about the introduction of public health measures at the border".
The ministers further mentioned that, as of now, COVID-19 tests or rapid temperature tests were not effective, as infected passengers might not have any symptom and tests might also not work where a passenger might have only just caught the virus.
"Which is why it is right that we ask those who are travelling to our country to follow the measures that our own citizens are undertaking to continue to stop the spread of the virus," Patel and Shapps urged.
The government will review the measures regularly and is working with the transport industry on introducing agreements with other countries when it is safe to do so, they added.
Breaches of the rules could be punished by a USD 1,250 fine or prosecution. Patel has previously said foreign nationals could be deported "as a last resort" if they broke the quarantine, while non-resident foreign nationals who did not comply could be refused entry at the border.
Earlier on June 2, the Home Office said the UK was looking at establishing "air bridges" with countries with low rates of coronavirus.
This "would remove self-isolation measures and safely open up routes to and from countries with low transmission rates", the ministry said in a statement.
"Agreement would need to be made with individual countries before these measures take effect," it added.
A group of firms, including The Ritz hotel and travel agent Kuoni, were among those demanding air bridges to low-risk countries.
Airlines including EasyJet and Virgin Atlantic also said they had "serious reservations" about a "blanket approach".
The UK is among the countries worst-hit by coronavirus with over 40,000 deaths from more than 285,000 cases till now.