How will England’s coronavirus lockdown affect UAE residents planning to visit?

England is entering a tough month-long lockdown on Thursday to curb soaring cases in the country

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England is entering a second strict lockdown on Thursday in an effort to curb soaring Covid-19 cases across the country.

Under the rules, non-essential shops and venues, pubs and restaurants will close for a month until December 2.

During the period, the public will only be allowed to leave home to work, if they cannot do so from home, shop for essentials, attend medical appointments and care for those who are vulnerable.

All non-essential travel should be avoided – including holidays in the UK and abroad.

So where does that leave people who are due to visit the England from the UAE?

And what about the rest of the UK?

The National explains.

Why were restrictions imposed in England when Prime Minister Boris Johnson did not want another lockdown?

The prime minister did not want to impose another lockdown but models predicted several thousand deaths a day if nothing was done to rein in infections, which were spreading faster than even reasonable worst-case scenarios.

That meant, for the first time, the National Health Service would “not be there for the public,” he said.

Speaking at the briefing on Saturday to announce the impending lockdown, the country’s chief scientific adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, said deaths could be twice as bad or more than in the first wave.

If international travel is banned, what does it mean for people from the UAE flying into England?

The restrictions do not affect inbound international travel, and normal rules apply.

That means anyone visiting the UK from the UAE must quarantine for 14 days on arrival.

But it could still affect travel plans for people visiting the UK.

Some operators may cancel flights to, from and inside the UK during the lockdown period. This is what Johan Lundgren, the chief executive of easyJet, has said.

“Following the government’s sudden announcement today, easyJet will operate its planned schedule until Thursday and will be reviewing its flying programme over the lockdown period,” Mr Lundgren said.

“It is likely that much of the UK touching schedule [for example flights to, from and within the UK] will be cancelled during lockdown with our planned flying set to resume in early December.”

Etihad has confirmed it will continue flights to the UK.

What can you do once you get to England?

Once people reach England, if they can, there are strict rules about what they will be able to do during the lockdown.

People are not allowed to meet in their homes, except for childcare or to care for vulnerable people.

Meeting outdoors is also banned unless they are seeing one other person. The meeting must be in a public place.

So if people do travel to the UK, they will only be able to see others when they have completed the 14-day quarantine.

And even then they will be able to meet only one person at a time outside, unless they are visiting the UK to care for a vulnerable person.

The list of the main restrictions are:

  • After completing quarantine you are only permitted to leave home for specific reasons, such as for education, work, exercise, to attend a medical appointment or hospital, to shop for essentials and care for those who are vulnerable.
  • Households cannot mix inside, except to provide childcare or other support;
  • Households cannot mix outside, except for exercise or to visit a public place with one other person;
  • All pubs, bars and restaurants will be closed. Takeaways and deliveries will be allowed;
  • All non-essential shops will close but supermarkets can still sell non-essential goods;
  • There will be no leisure or entertainment;
  • International travel out of the UK will be banned, except for work;
  • Travel within the UK will be discouraged, except for work;
  • Outdoor exercise is unlimited, either alone or with one other person. Golf is not allowed;
  • People can sit on park benches and have picnics, as long as they are only with others in their household;
  • Services in churches, mosques, synagogues and other places of worship will be banned;
  • Funerals will be allowed, but only with close family members;
  • Playgrounds will remain open;
  • Schools, colleges and universities will remain open;
  • Medical appointments will continue;
  • Hotels and hostels will remain open for people travelling for work or visiting from abroad.

What about the rest of the UK? Is it affected?

Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales already have their own restrictions in place.

In Scotland, a four-tier system with varying restrictions comes into effect on November 2. Level four, the highest, is close to a full lockdown.

Pubs, restaurants, hair salons, gyms and cinemas will close completely. Schools will remain open and some outdoor socialising is permitted.

Level 3 is a step down and so on, all the way down to level zero, which is close to normality. More information can be found on the restrictions here.

Northern Ireland is currently under a four-week “circuit breaker” of tighter restrictions which began on October 16.

It includes the closure of all bars and restaurants, except for takeaways, and a ban on members of different households mixing indoors. More information on the restrictions can be found here.

Wales has imposed a two-week so-called sharp, short “firebreak” to help the country regain control of the virus.

People have been asked to stay at home, except for limited purposes. More information on the restrictions can be found here.

What about people who plan to go home for Christmas? Will this affect them?

Mr Johnson hopes that by imposing a tough lockdown now the restrictions can be lifted in time for Christmas.

The measure is currently due to last from November 5 until December 2.

The prime minister said Christmas is going to be different this year, “perhaps very different”.

“But it’s my sincere hope that by taking tough action now we can allow families across the country to be together,” he said.