UK nationals and residents returning from 30 “red list” countries will be placed in quarantine in government-provided accommodation, such as hotels for 10 days, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has told MPs. Testing for Covid-19 during their stay would take place, with people allowed to leave once testing negative for the virus.
He said the government would “enforce this at ports and airports by asking people why they are leaving and instructing them to return home if they do not have a valid reason to travel”.
Announcing the new hotel quarantine requirements, the Prime Minister told MPs the government had already banned travel from countries “where there is a risk of known variants including South Africa, Portugal and South American nations”.
“In order to reduce the risk posed by UK nationals and residents returning home from these countries, I can announce that we will require all such arrivals who cannot be refused entry to isolate in government provided accommodation, such as hotels, for 10 days without exception,” he added.
Costs are yet to be announced, but it could cost in excess of £1,000 per person, and it is understood travellers from the red list countries will have to pay to isolate in a hotel, with coronavirus testing carried out during their stay.
The prime minister said the new measures are aimed at preventing new mutant COVID strains from reaching the UK.
Mandatory hotel quarantine for arrivals have already been introduced by other countries, including Australia, China and New Zealand.
People will also be required to fill in a form explaining why their trip is necessary, with enforcement stepped up at airports to prevent leisure travel.
Commenting on the new quarantine plans, announced today by the Government, Kate Nicholls, CEO of UKHospitality said:
“Driving down cases and taking steps to eliminate new strains of the virus through enforcement of new and existing quarantine rules will help the pace of which restrictions are eased as part of the Prime Minister’s exit strategy, and hopefully lead to the reopening of hospitality sooner rather than later.
“It’s just as important, in the long term, that when travel resumes, the UK continues to have a strong reputation internationally as a safe destination and point of arrival to avoid acting as a longer-term deterrent to international visitors.