Those returning to England from high-risk countries will now have to self-isolate in ‘quarantine hotels’.
It was recently announced that all international travellers would need to provide a negative Covid-19 test in order to enter the UK. In another attempt to limit the spread of new coronavirus strains, the UK government has also introduced a ‘quarantine hotel’ system. From February 15, those returning to England from ‘red list’ countries will have to pay £1,750 to self-isolate in a government-appointed hotel for 10 days.
A ‘quarantine package’ must be purchased online by all travellers heading to England through a booking system which will go live later this week. The package includes the hotel stay, transport to the hotel, and Covid-19 tests, all of which will come under the £1,750 required fee. As it stands, the new system only applies to arrivals in England, however, government officials are currently devising similar schemes with the devolved nations.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock also announced a range of new strict laws that will help to implement the hotel quarantine system. From next week, travellers who refrain from self-isolating in the hotels can be fined up to £10,000 and those who fail to disclose that they’ve visited a ‘red list’ country can be sentenced up to 10 years in jail!
Hancock told the Commons “Passengers will only be able to enter the UK through a small number of ports that currently account for the vast majority of arrivals. When they arrive they will be escorted to a designated hotel which will be closed to guests who aren’t quarantining, for 10 days, or for longer if they test positive for Covid-19 during their stay.”