A £5,000 ($6,900US) fine for anyone in England trying to travel abroad without good reason is due to come into force next week as part of new coronavirus laws.
The penalty is included in legislation that will be voted on by Members of Parliament on Thursday, March 25, 2021, the BBC reported today, March 23, 2021.
The news was a disappointment to millions of people hoping for a summer holiday and sent travel stocks - including easyJet, British Airway-owner, Jet2 and TUI - down 2-4% in early trade on Tuesday, March 23, 2021.
Travel shares had also fallen on Monday.
Foreign holidays are currently not allowed under the "stay at home" rule in the UK which ends on Monday, March 29, 2021.
And according to the BBC, from next week the ban on leaving the UK will become a specific law, backed up by the threat of the fine.
It said under the current plan for easing restrictions, the earliest date people in England could go abroad for a holiday would be May 17, 2021.
However, another surge in COVID-19 cases in continental Europe, as well as the slow rollout of vaccines across Europe, has cast doubt on the resumption of foreign travel, the BBC has said,
Health Secretary Matthew J. D. Hancock said restrictions on travelling abroad were necessary to guard against the importation of large numbers of cases and new variants which might put the vaccine rollout at risk.
Shadow Cabinet Office minister Rachel Reeves told BBC Breakfast that Labour supported measures to keep the UK's borders secure and avoid the importation of new variants but said the government's "slowness to react" had contributed to the country's high death rate.
Prime Minister Johnson, according to the BBC, warned on Monday, March 22, 2021, the UK should be "under no illusion" that it will feel the effects of a rising number of cases on the continent.
One of his ministers, Lord Bethell, said England might put "all our European neighbours" on the "red list" of countries.
However, according to the BBC, Mr Hancock told BBC Radio 4's Today programme there were no plans to do this.
People from those countries are currently not allowed to travel to the UK, with the exception of British nationals and people who are normally resident in the UK - but those two groups must pay to quarantine in a hotel if they do choose to come at the moment.
The "red list" was introduced as part of travel regulations aimed at stopping COVID variants entering the country and is regularly reviewed, meaning countries are added or removed depending on their COVID situation.
The new coronavirus laws, due to be introduced on Monday, suggest anyone who leaves England for a destination outside the UK without a reasonable excuse, such as for work, education or medical treatment, could face a £5,000 fine.
Anyone travelling abroad has to fill in a "Declaration to Travel" form, stating a valid reason for leaving the country, such as education, work or childcare.
England's travel ban does not apply to those going to or from the common travel area of the Channel Islands, Isle of Man and the Republic of Ireland unless that is not the final destination.
“The UK's devolved nations have the power to set their own coronavirus restrictions.
The earliest date people from Scotland and Wales will be able to go on holiday abroad is, like England, May 17, 2021, while Northern Ireland has not yet announced its own plans,” the BBC stated.
Meanwhile, the UK is on the list of countries that the Virgin Islands has placed a travel ban on due to their put of control COVID-19 situation and the prevalence of new variants of the virus.
The other countries that a travel ban has been imposed on are Dominican Republic, South Africa and Brazil.
The Virgin Islands currently has zero reported active cases of COVID-19.
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