British home secretary Priti Patel has announced that Brits returning from visits to “amber” listed countries, such as Thailand, will face a visit from the Isolation Assurance and Compliance Service (IACS) to check that they are observing the home-based 10 days quarantine required by law. She said that there would be 70,000 checks weekly with fines of up to 10,000 pounds for people who were out when they should have been in.
The IACS has been beefed-up after reports in Parliament that at least 75 percent of returning travellers required to quarantine at home had not actually been checked. The opposition Labour party said that Britons were being “completely exposed to the virus” by government inaction and incompetence. According to employment vacancy ads in the UK, the average annual salary of IACS inspectors is around 20,000 pounds. Police will only be summoned to doorsteps if the inspectors are unable to cope.
Britain recently introduced a traffic-lights system with those returning from green countries not required to quarantine, those from amber not being allowed to leave their home for 10 days and red returnees facing supervised isolation in a hotel. But government advice about the whole issue has been muddled. Some ministers have suggested that it’s best not to travel abroad to any country, even green, whilst others have argued weary citizens need a break.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office website states that travel to Thailand should be only for urgent business or family reasons which do not include holidays. However, there are currently very few Brits contemplating a vacation to the Land of Smiles because of the bureaucratic regulations in place, compulsory quarantine for all arrivals in Bangkok and the recent spurt of infections which has resulted in the closure of bars and places of entertainment.