COVID-19: UK imposes £500 fine on defaulting travelers

The United Kingdom has said international arrivals are now required to provide negative COVID-19 test result before departure for England. It stated that all international travellers to England, including UK nationals, have to present a negative COVID-19 test taken up to 72 hours before departure. 

 This followed the recent decision to temporarily suspend direct travel from South Africa and 11 other African countries to England after new evidence emerged from health authorities reporting an outbreak of a variant strain of coronavirus spreading to some local communities. 

 “Passengers will be subject to an immediate fine of £500 if they fail to comply with the new regulations on pre-departure testing,” the British High Commission in Nigeria disclosed in a statement on Monday. 

 Besides, passengers arriving from countries not on the government’s travel corridor list will still be required to self-isolate for 10 days, regardless of the test result. 

 The UK explained that passengers will still be required to fill in a passenger locator form and subject to national lockdown restrictions. 

 The UK Border Force will conduct spot checks on arrival into England to ensure that passengers are fully compliant. 

 The statement titled, ‘Mandatory COVID-19 testing introduced to bolster border measures,’ stated, “Passengers arriving from all international destinations will be required to present a negative COVID-19 test result before departing for England to help protect against new strains of coronavirus circulating internationally. 

 “Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has announced that from next week, inbound passengers arriving by boat, plane or train will have to take a test up to 72 hours before departing the country they are in, to help protect against the new strains of coronavirus such as those seen in Denmark and South Africa.” 

The commission noted that the new regulations announced on Sunday were in response to the changes seen in the transmission of the virus both domestically and across the globe. 

 It argued that pre-departure testing would protect travel and also provide an additional layer of safety from imported cases of coronavirus on top of the mandatory 10-day self-isolation for arrivals, helping identify people who may currently be infectious and preventing them from travelling to England. 

 Shapps was quoted as stating that further precautions were needed to prevent imported coronavirus cases. 

 He said, “We already have significant measures in place to prevent imported cases of COVID-19 but with new strains of the virus developing internationally we must take further precautions. 

 “Taken together with the existing mandatory self-isolation period for passengers returning from high-risk countries, pre-departure tests will provide a further line of defence – helping us control the virus as we roll out the vaccine at pace over the coming weeks.” 

 The statement added that the national lockdown restrictions which came into force on January 6, 2021, would remain in place.

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