Travellers return to UK hours before strict new travel rules introduced
18 January 2021, 11:09 | Updated: 18 January 2021, 11:16
Passengers were seen returning to London hours before the UK travel corridors were shut.
Travellers arrived at airports across the country on Sunday, just hours ahead of the closure of all air travel corridors.
From today (Monday 18), all quarantine-free travel into the country has been put on hold in a bid to stop new strains of coronavirus spreading.
Under the new rules, which came into force at 4am this morning, all arrivals will need to self-isolate for ten days when they enter the UK.
This can be cut down to five days if they receive a negative result from a coronavirus test after they arrive.
Passengers must also show proof of a negative test to be allowed entry.
The test must be taken in the 72 hours before travelling and anyone arriving without one could be hit with a fine of up to £500.
Ahead of the new restrictions coming into force, travellers were seen in socially distanced queues at Heathrow airport on Sunday.
There was a steady stream of passengers at the UK’s biggest airport seen arriving before the new restrictions took effect.
Heathrow’s departure board also showed that nearly 300 flights had left the country by 2.30pm on Sunday, with travellers seen lining up for Covid tests ahead of check in.
This comes after Boris Johnson said at a Downing Street press conference over the weekend that it is important to stop new strains of Covid spreading in the UK.
The Prime Minister said: "The risk of new strains coming from overseas means that we must take additional steps now to stop those strains from entering the country."
It was also reported that ministers were considering making passengers self-isolate at specially designated hotels after returning from overseas, as well as using tracking devices to make sure they follow the rules.
The Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab told Sky News: “In terms of enforcement, we are going to be strengthening the checks at the border – so when people come in to make sure that they have filled out the passenger location form, that they have got that negative test that they have to vouch for before they get on the flight.
“Also, because the effect of abolishing or suspending the travel corridors is that people go into quarantine and self-isolation for 10 days, we’re making sure that Public Health England checks to make sure people are adhering to those rules.
“As well as changing the rules, we are also making sure that we beef up the capacity to make those checks.”
Speaking about the potential to use GPS tracking, he later said: “I’m not involved in the technical enforcement measures that Border Force rightly look at but I wouldn’t rule anything out to make sure that we’ve got an effective system of checks to protect the roll-out of the vaccine.”