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Banned from Leaving the Country


Britons could face a £5,000 fine if they leave the UK without a reasonable excuse under new coronavirus rules coming into force next week. The legislation for restrictions over the coming months, as the Government sets out its road map for coming out of lockdown, was published on Monday. The new laws come into force on March 29.


International travel is already banned under most circumstances in the current lockdown, but according to the new laws non-essential foreign travel will be banned until June 30.


The law says no-one may “leave England to travel to a destination outside the United Kingdom, or travel to, or be present at, an embarkation point for the purpose of travelling from there to a destination outside the United Kingdom” without a reasonable excuse. It suggests anyone who breaks such rules could face a £5,000 fine.


According to the legal document: “The Regulations also impose restrictions on leaving the United Kingdom without a reasonable excuse (regulation 8).”


There is also a £200 fixed penalty notice for failing to fill in a travel declaration form – giving person details and reason for travel – for those planning to leave the UK. The travel ban does not apply to those going to the common travel area of the Channel Islands, Isle of Man and the Republic of Ireland unless that is not the final destination.


Exemptions also apply including for those needing to travel for work, study, for legal obligations or to vote, if they are moving, selling or renting property, for some childcare reasons or to be present at a birth, to visit a dying relative or close friend, to attend a funeral, for those getting married or to attend the wedding of a close relative, for medical appointments or to escape a risk of harm. The rules also allow students to return home during the Easter holiday.


Human rights barrister Adam Wagner, who deciphers the lockdown rules on Twitter for the public, said: “Previously, the ‘holiday ban’ which the government had advertised was assumed rather than explicit – because going on holiday wasn’t a reasonable excuse, it was assumed you couldn’t be outside of your home to do so. But now it is explicit.”