United Kingdom Residents who travel without a valid reason will face fines of up to £5,000 (€5,789) from next week, according to new legislation prepared by the British Government that will be voted on this Thursday in Parliament.
British Health Minister, Matt Hancock, indicated that there was a possibility of a new wave of infections that could arrive from Europe.
The new law, which will tighten restrictions to contain the spread of Covid-19, imposes large fines for those who do not have a legitimate force majeure reason to leave the country – something that in fact has not been allowed since January – and if approved on Thursday, will go into effect as of next Monday.
Although the United Kingdom maintains relatively low numbers of infections and daily deaths from the virus, thanks to its vaccination program, positives are increasing in other European countries, which has put British authorities on alert.
Initially, the roadmap detailed by the Boris Johnson Executive, to proceed with de-escalation of restrictions, contemplated allowing non-essential travel from May 17 at the earliest.
However, according to the draft law published today by UK media, leaving the country without a “reasonable excuse”, will be illegal until June 30, unless changes are proposed before that.
People traveling from England to another part of the UK, with the aim of leaving the country, or heading to an airport for that purpose will also be fined.
Speaking to “Sky News”, Hancock said today that the government working group on travel will review the provisions regarding travel abroad and will report on it on April 12.
He pointed out that the government’s plan for de-escalation “details that the earliest date for which international travel will be allowed without one of the clear reasons now needed is May 17.”
“That has not changed,” he said, although it is still “too early” to know what the final decision on holidays abroad will be because of the spike in infections across Europe.
“The reason is that we are seeing this third wave increase in some parts of Europe and we are seeing new variants,” Hancock explained.
“Would like to try and clarify the scary headlines in your media today.
Currently the rule is to ‘Stay At Home’ in the UK. This is being relaxed on Monday to ‘Stay Local’. Therefore a law need to be put in place to stop holiday travel abroad as this won’t be covered by the stay at home message.
The law would be implemented until 30th June. However (and this is the important bit) it still stands that May 17th will be the earliest we could travel abroad.
Nothing has actually changed as it stands. It’s not a ban on all travel abroad until 30th June just the flexibility to allow it to happen if needed. Hope that helps?”