Coronavirus: Lorry drivers to be exempt from 14-day quarantine after arriving in UK

Lorry drivers who bring freight to the UK will be exempt from the need to quarantine for 14 days, the Business Secretary has indicated. Alok Sharma said freight is being looked at as one of the exemptions to a quarantine system that is due to launch in the next two weeks. He told the daily No10 press conference: "I recognise that the quarantining measures will put restrictions on businesspeople being able to travel.

"We will be setting out shortly the exemptions. "One of the exemptions we have talked about is people who are bringing freight in, so freight drivers."

A truck driver wears a face mask as he waits in a queue at the Latvia-Lithuania border (file photo)
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It comes as the UK government prepares to force all arrivals at all ports and airports to go into self-isolation for 14 days, starting in a few weeks. People will be ordered to give the address they are quarantining at, and if they do not, could be forced into a government-run quarantine facility.

It's understood officials are looking at exemptions for some people who arrive to the UK, especially from France through the Channel Tunnel or Eurostar. But government sources have said those exceptions will be "tightly drawn", to include freight drivers or scientists working on the pandemic. That means holidaymakers - including any Brits returning home - are unlikely to be exempt from quarantine if they go on a trip to France.

Coronavirus: Lorry drivers to be exempt from 14-day quarantine after arriving in UKOfficials are looking at exemptions for some people who arrive to the UK, especially from France through the Channel Tunnel or Eurostar

The UK lockdown is still largely in place and the Foreign Office advises against all non-essential travel, anywhere in the world.

Exemptions to the quarantine policy, which Mr Sharma said would be "limited", will be published in the coming days. And he stopped well short of saying there would be an exemption for all people coming from France. He said: "There have been discussions between the Prime Minister and President Macron, when details become available we will set them out.

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"But what I would say is what is important to realise, the reason we are going to be introducing quarantine measures with some limited exceptions, is precisely because we want to protect the UK population now they have made sacrifices and managed to get the R rate below one."

He added: "We are going to be introducing quarantining measures.

"It is particularly important now the transmission rate domestically has come down.

"I don't think there's a trade-off between the health of the nation and the health of the economy."

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