A new Government crackdown has been announced on travel in an attempt to stop the spread of coronavirus through unnecessary journeys.
Anyone wanting to travel out of the UK will have to give a valid reason – or face being sent home or fined for breaking lockdown
Home Secretary Priti Patel said “going on holiday is not a valid reason” to ignore the stay-at-home rules.
She told the Commons: “For those travelling out of the UK we will also be enhancing and stepping up enforcement rules.
“Because despite the stay-at-home regulations we are still seeing people not complying with these rules. The rules are clear, people should be staying at home unless they have a valid reason to leave.
“Going on holiday is not a valid reason, so we will introduce a new requirement so that people wishing to travel must first make a declaration as to why they need to travel.
“This reason for travel will be checked by carriers prior to departure and this approach effectively mirrors the checks on arrivals that are already in place with the passenger locator form.”
There will be more police at ports and airports – and people without a valid reason for travel will be sent home or fined for breaching lockdown.
She did not give any detail on when the crackdown will start – or a full list of what are deemed to be valid reasons.
People in England are currently banned from staying overnight away from home unless they have a reasonable excuse under the national lockdown. Those who break the rules face £200 fines for a first offence.
That means foreign travel from England is effectively illegal unless it is for specified essential purposes such as work or medical care.
Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland also have their own separate Covid restrictions with their own levels of fines.
Airlines and carriers will now have liability for checking travellers and will face fines themselves if they do not comply.
Ms Patel said the Government will continue to “take all steps necessary” to prevent the spread of coronavirus, and also issued a reminder of the rules for those trying to come into the UK.
She said: “I would just like to remind anyone seeking to enter our country to comply with the rules.
“This includes providing evidence of a negative Covid test before entering the United Kingdom, self-isolation on arrival for 10 days and the completion of the passenger locator form.
“Immediately stepping up enforcement means that if you do not follow the regulations, you will face a fine.
“These new measures at the border are a necessary step to protect the public and our world class vaccination programme.
“Every layer of protection we have put in place will help to reduce the risk of transmission of this virus and any new potential strain from entering the UK.
“And as we have done throughout this global health emergency, we will continue to take all steps necessary to protect the public and help prevent the spread of this virus.”
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