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Coronavirus updates: Australia seeks exemption to UK quarantine rules

Priti Patel

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Edited by Sean Fanning and Sarah Collerton

All times stated are UK

  1. Visas and care workers

    Asked if she supports automatic visa extensions for care workers, the home secretary says the immigration system is “complex”. The government is looking to see what it can do, she adds.

  2. What if people have nowhere to say?

    Priti Patel

    Copyright: PA Media

    A question from Channel 4’s Liz Bates about what will happen to people, under the new quarantine rules, who don’t have anywhere to stay and why the new rules are not being brought in immediately.

    The home secretary says the timing is critical and the measures reflect the fact that although travel to the UK has been at an all-time low, many European countries are starting to re-open their countries.

    The measures are designed to stop a second spike, she repeats.

    In terms of the 8 June start, she stresses the government will be using all communication channels available to make sure people know what is expected of them.

    The Border Force’s Paul Lincoln says that if people don’t have anywhere suitable to say, his organisation will provide a “service at their expense” – effectively providing accommodation.

    But he stresses that his organisation does have the power to stop someone from entering the country in the first place and suggests this may be necessary in a minority of cases.

  3. Negative testing ‘not very predictive’

    Sir Patrick Vallance

    Copyright: Reuters

    Sir Patrick Vallance says a negative coronavirus test is “not very predictive”, as the virus takes a few days to incubate. Just saying someone is negative doesn’t mean they “won’t get it in a week’s time”, he adds.

  4. Quarantine ‘not shutting UK completely’

    The quarantine doesn’t tell the rest of the world that the UK is closing for business, Priti Patel says. The country wants to be a “dynamic player”, she adds.

    The measures will be kept under review and the UK is “not shutting down completely”, Patel says.

  5. Vallance on school reopenings

    On school reopenings, Sir Patrick Vallance says the lower the rate of infection, the better the chance of “doing things”. It’s important to remember that “basic hygiene things”, like washing hands frequently, must be maintained.

    Social distancing will also have to remain in use “for some time”, Vallance says.

  6. Patel ‘open to’ air bridges

    Priti Patel

    Copyright: AFP

    The home secretary says the government should be open to the idea of “air bridges” to keep goods and people moving. But whatever happens must be done in a “practical” way and the UK should be “leading the world” in reopening aviation.

  7. What about France exemption?

    Asked why there’s no longer a quarantine exemption for people coming to the UK from France, Priti Patel says there are “limited” ones, details of which will be published later.

  8. Patel downplays talk of summer holidays

    Tom Burridge asks a question at the briefing via a screen

    Copyright: BBC

    The BBC’s travel correspondent Tom Burridge asks if there is any chance people will be able to go on holiday this summer and poses a second question on the broader health risks to the community of reopening schools, in terms of spreading infections.

    Patel bluntly says the government is “absolutely” not talking about people taking holidays of any sort this summer.

    She says she absolutely understands people want to get back to a normal life but notes that the Foreign Office is advising against non-essential travel.

    On schools, Vallance says any wider social contact arising from schools opening will “put pressure” on the reproduction rate.

    However, he does note that research suggests that children have a lower risk of serious complications and also infecting others.

  9. How many people have come to the UK during lockdown?

    By Reality Check

    Passengers at Heathrow Airport

    Copyright: Reuters

    Home Secretary Priti Patel said number of passengers arrivals in the UK was down 99% during lockdown. So, how many have come?

    Reliable figures are hard to come but Professor John Ashton (who’s a member of the government’s scientific advisory group) told MPs on 13 May: “Up to 26 April, from aviation, there were 95,000 arrivals, and 53,000 were UK citizens.”

    The Home Office confirmed that figure was for arrivals by air between 1 and 26 April. But Health Secretary Matt Hancock told Good Morning Britain on 16 April that the figure was about 15,000 a day – significantly higher, but it’s not clear where it comes from.

    Heathrow’s traffic statistics show that 206,000 passengers used the airport in April, although that includes departures, arrivals and transfers.

    Passengers arriving will have found health advice leaflets and been subject to enhanced monitoring by public health officials.The government stopped its track and trace system in early March because it said it did not have enough capacity to run such a programme with the number of infections in the country.

  10. What hope for weddings this summer?

    Emma from Wealden asks a question

    Copyright: PA Media

    Emma, from Wealden, wants to know what hope there is for people who were intending to get married this autumn and whether policymakers will “put a number” on the size of gatherings.

    Patel says she knows people who have had to cancel their weddings and she feels deeply for them.

    However, she says the government’s guidance at the moment does not allow for public or private gatherings of any size.

  11. When will dentists reopen?

    Sir Patrick Vallance says there are “some risks” in professions like dentistry, because of close working. The government is working on guidance, he adds.

  12. Vallance: Don’t relax yet

    Sir Patrick Vallance

    Copyright: BBC

    Social distancing has suppressed the peak of coronavirus cases, Sir Patrick Vallance says, and people must maintain social distancing to avoid a second, similar peak.

    “We need to keep on with it” and “make sure we don’t relax at the wrong time”, he adds.

  13. Cases falling ‘quite slowly’

    Sir Patrick Vallance says the number of confirmed coronavirus cases is coming down, but “quite slowly”.

    He adds that the number of people in hospital and on ventilators is falling too. But it’s not happening at the same rate across the country, he says.

  14. Epidemic ‘flat or declining in the UK’

    Sir Patrick Vallance

    Copyright: PA Media

    Sir Patrick Vallance, chief scientific adviser to the UK government, lays out details of the “R” Number – the rate of infection. It’s currently at 0.7 to 1. This means epidemic is “either flat or declining” in the UK, he adds.

    The number of new infections is about 61,000 per week at the moment, roughly one in 1,000 people, Sir Patrick says.

  15. Slides from today’s briefing

    Here are the slides the UK government used to accompany its coronavirus briefing.

    Deaths figures

    Copyright: UK government

    R number

    Copyright: UK government

    Testing

    Copyright: UK government

    Hospital data

    Copyright: UK government

    Social distancing

    Copyright: UK government

  16. Rules will be ‘strictly’ enforced – Border Force chief

    Paul Lincoln

    Copyright: PA Media

    The Border Force’s Paul Lincoln discusses his organisation’s work on tackling criminality during the pandemic.

    He says his officers have acted to intercept counterfeit face masks and Covid-19 tests and deal with “abhorrent” attempts to exploit the most vulnerable, as well as seizing drug shipments.

    Turning to the new measures, he lists those who will be exempt, saying they will include those who are vital to the UK’s national security and critical infrastructure.

    He says he expects the vast majority of people arriving in the UK to “do the right thing” but stresses that his organisation won’t stop from enforcing the rules strictly.

    It is critical that the UK uses all the levers at its disposal, while protecting the economy, including the travel sector, he adds.

  17. No shopping trips or family visits

    Under the new plan, the
    Border Force will carry out checks at the border and may refuse entry to any
    non-British citizen who refuses to comply with the regulations and isn’t
    resident in the UK.

    There
    will be announcements on incoming flights telling people about the arrangements as well as posters and leaflets at airport arrivals.

    This
    material, which will also explain the existing social distancing measures in
    force, will be English and nine other languages.

    All those arriving will need to tell officials where
    they will be staying, whether it is with family, friends or in rented
    accommodation.

    If
    this does not meet the “necessary requirements”, people will be required to
    self-isolate in facilities arranged by the government.

    So
    what will be required of people going into self-isolation?

    • People
      will be expected to travel by car, where possible, and not use public transport
    • They
      should not leave their residence for 14 days
    • They
      should not go to work, school or visit public areas
    • They
      should not have friends or family to stay or visit, except to provide essential support
    • They
      should not go out to shop where they can rely on others.
    • They
      will be encouraged to download the NHS Covid-19 app at the border
  18. Hauliers and fruit-pickers among those exempt

    The
    government says it has “worked closely with industry partners” in drawing up
    these new rules.

    So
    who will be exempt?

    Anyone arriving from the Common Travel Area will not be
    covered. That’s
    the Republic of Ireland, the Channel Islands – including Jersey and Guernsey –
    and the Isle of Man.

    However,
    there appears to be no exemption for anyone arriving from France, where many Brits have holiday homes. There were
    reports a couple of weeks ago that this might be the case.

    A
    small number of people working in specific sectors will also not be required to
    self-isolate, including road haulage and freight workers.

    This
    is designed to ensure the supply of goods is not impacted.

    And
    those coming to the UK to help pick fruit will also be unaffected, as long they
    self-isolate on the same premises as they are working.

  19. BreakingQuarantine-breaking punishments ‘could increase’

    Priti Patel

    Copyright: PA Media

    The government will be “unafraid” to increase punishments for breaking the quarantine rules if this is necessary, Priti Patel says.

  20. Those failing to comply face £1,000 fine

    Priti Patel

    Copyright: BBC

    Patel
    is now setting out the details of how the new arrangements will work.

    All
    passengers arriving in the UK will be required to provide details of where they
    are staying and future travel plans so they can be contacted if someone they have
    been in contact with develops the disease.

    Anyone
    refusing to complete the “contact locator form” will face a £100 fine.

    Strict
    rules will be in place to enforce the 14-day quarantine period.

    In
    England, anyone breaching the rules will be liable for a £1,000 fine or face potential
    prosecution. Penalties could increase if the rate of infection from abroad
    increases.

    Public
    health authorities will conduct random checks to ensure compliance with the
    rules, with individuals potentially being contacted on a regular basis.

    And
    foreign nationals who refuse to comply could, as a last resort, be considered
    for deportation.

    The
    rules will apply across the whole of the UK, although Scotland, Wales and
    Northern Ireland will have different enforcement measures.

    They will be reviewed every three weeks to ensure they
    are “in
    line with the latest scientific evidence” and remain effective and necessary.

    Read more here.

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