How UK ensures travellers from France observe quarantine

Several Connexion readers have reported travelling from France to the UK recently without having to show border police a mandatory passenger locator form. We explain why and how the system works. 

25 August 2020
The border force are allowed to issue fixed penalty fines of up to £100 to any passengers who cannot show a completed passenger locator form
By Connexion journalist

Since August 15, anyone travelling from France to the UK is required to self-isolate for two weeks. This measure was brought in due to the increase in coronavirus cases in France. 

Also anyone travelling to the UK from France is required to fill out a passenger locator form so that authorities can track them if it is discovered they have come into contact with someone who tests positive for coronavirus, and also so that authorities can check on the person to ensure that they follow quarantine rules. 

These passenger locator forms should be filled out within 48 hours before arrival in the UK. This must be done online and travellers will need to share various pieces of information such as their passport details, the name of the airline, train or ferry company they are travelling with, a booking reference, the name of the airport, port or station they will be arriving at, etc.

Passengers may be asked to present it to border guards on arrival to the UK as a printed copy of the form, or as the document attached to the confirmation email on their phone. 

However, not all passengers will be asked. 

The checks by border guards are spot checks and will be carried out at random, meaning that it is possible people will pass through without having their passenger locator forms checked, information provided to Connexion by the UK Home Office states. 

The border force are allowed to issue fixed penalty fines of up to £100 to any passengers who cannot show a completed passenger locator form. The latest information from the UK Home Office states that nine such fines have been issued. 

The information passengers fill out on the forms will be stored on a Home Office database that border police will be able to access, if necessary.

Once past passport control, it is the various public health agencies in the UK, such as Public Health England or Public Health Scotland (this system is devolved), in conjunction with local police, who will be responsible for ensuring that people comply with quarantine measures. 

This may involve phone calls from people from these agencies or local police knocking on people’s doors to ensure they are abiding by the two-week quarantine rules. 

“The quarantine system is informed by science, backed by the public and designed to keep us all safe,” a UK Home Office statement reads. “We are seeing a high level of compliance and we expect this to continue as everyone plays their part to help stop the spread of this disease.” 

Read more about UK-France quarantine measures:

France-UK quarantine: hundreds of thousands of tourists hit

Simon Heffer: UK-France quarantine rule is profoundly stupid

British ambassador: UK-France quarantine tough but necessary

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