UK sets mid-February start for new hotel quarantine rules

London, United Kingdom  |  Sun, February 7, 2021  |  06:15 am

Britain confirmed Thursday it will introduce its new mandatory hotel quarantine rules for travellers returning from dozens of countries deemed at “high risk” from Covid-19 variants later this month.

The policy, which will start on 15 February, will require all UK citizens and permanent residents returning from countries on its so-called travel ban list to self-isolate for 10 days in a facility approved by the government.

Under virus lockout rules, other tourists from the 33 countries currently on the registry, which includes all South American nations and South Africa, are currently barred from visiting Britain.

The health department of the United Kingdom said it had asked hotels near ports and airports for proposals on how they could help the programme prior to the award of formal contracts.

It added officials had met with stakeholders from the aviation, marine, hotel and hospitality industries ahead of finalising plans for its mid-February start.

Meanwhile Health Secretary Matt Hancock held talks with his Australian counterpart Thursday, and officials would also meet with New Zealand officials to hear their experience using similar steps, the government said.

“We are now working at pace to secure the facilities we need to roll out managed quarantine for British nationals returning home from the most high-risk countries,”We are now working at a pace to secure the facilities we need to roll out a managed quarantine for British nationals returning home from the most high-risk countries.

“In the face of new variants, it is important that the government continues to take the necessary steps to protect people and save lives.”

The 10-day quarantine would cost returning Britons £1,500 ($2,060, 1,697 euros), with meals served at the bedroom door and security guards supervising stays, according to media reports.

Last month, the government abolished its “travel corridors” from low-case-load countries and now asks all arrivals to demonstrate negative Covid-19 tests and then self-isolate.

Then, under pressure to tighten the rules further, ministers agreed to enforce the new regime.

But they stopped short of asking all incoming travelers to isolate themselves in hotels that countries like Australia and New Zealand have done and subsequently established with significantly lower tolls of virus death.

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