14 Day Quarantine Plan for UK Has More Questions than Answers

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Over the weekend, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed his plans for travelers to the UK to face a mandatory 14 day quarantine upon arrival.

london big ben 14 day quarantine

Big Ben in London. Photo credit: Dave Grossman

With penalties rumored to be £1,000 or deportation from the country, it’s clear that Johnson means business.

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What’s not clear about the 14 day quarantine on arrival to the UK?

A lot. 

For one thing, there may be an exemption for Schengen Zone and EU citizens. But that hasn’t been signed off on yet and may not happen. France has already said that if there is not an exemption agreement in place, then UK travelers would likely find themselves with a similar 14 day quarantine restriction when entering an EU or Schengen Zone country.  France will be exempt.

The Republic of Ireland should also be exempt.


The biggest unknown? Start and end dates. It’s presumed that this new requirement will start on or about May 13th, coinciding with the start of the step-by-step reopening plan for the UK.

But what of the end date? Presumably that depends on how the UK fares with the rest of the plan. That’s completely understandable. But it creates mass uncertainty around booking travel to the UK anytime soon, which certainly will have an impact in the commercial aviation industry.

And what about flight connections? London is a major hub for the UK and, indeed, Europe, from all over the world. Can someone connect in London without the mandatory 14 day quarantine being mandated?

Can a hotel be given as the quarantine site or must it be a residence?

The open-ended nature is the really big issue.

Also, for UK residents, would they be apt to travel to the rest of Europe if it requires a 14 day mandatory quarantine? Certainly not for a weekend getaway.


What would the UK’s 14 day quarantine look like?

Again, details haven’t been made final. We know that you would need to provide details of where you would be self-isolating. They would encourage (but apparently not mandate) that you download a contact tracing app to your phone. And like I mentioned above, there could be penalties of up to £1,000 or deportation for violating the self-isolation.

They do not indicate if anyone will be checking in on you. In countries that have done best eradicating the coronavirus to date, there has been extensive contact tracing and those in quarantine really have to stay in quarantine. Hong Kong and Taiwan, for instance, have you wear a quarantine bracelet and, in Taiwan, someone even calls, texts, or stops by often to ensure you have remained in quarantine.

I doubt the UK will go this far, which means compliance would be a likely issue as well.



We don’t know yet how this will play out, but I’d love to hear how an open ended quarantine period would affect your plans to book a trip to or through the UK.

Let me know here, on Twitter, or in the private MilesTalk Facebook group.

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