United Kingdom rolls out hotel quarantine for 'high risk' returnees

  • United Kingdom rolls out hotel quarantine for 'high risk' returnees

United Kingdom rolls out hotel quarantine for 'high risk' returnees

The 10-day quarantine stay at a government-approved hotel applies to anyone travelling from a country on the UK's red list of high-risk nations. But with the leisure club, swimming pool, restaurant, bar and other communal areas closed to me on my one-night stay - as they would be were I actually quarantining - the four walls of my standard room were my only company.

However, the booking portal for the quarantine scheme was removed just hours after it launched, which a government website said was due to "a minor technical issue".

Yes. In Scotland the policy applies to all arrivals, but in England it is only relevant for those who have been in a country on the Government's travel ban "red list" in the past 10 days.

The majority of those required to quarantine will arrive at Heathrow, but its bosses yesterday said that "significant gaps" about how the scheme would operate remain.

Anyone who has been in a high-risk location has to enter England through a designated port and have pre-booked a package to stay at one of the government's managed quarantine facilities.

Arriving in the United Kingdom without a booking will result in a penalty of £4,000 (about R80,350) in addition to the cost of the hotel stay.

Travellers must take a coronavirus test and get a negative result in the three days before they travel.

Airport and immigration officials are particularly anxious about passengers spreading Covid-19 as they wait in queues inside the terminals and the logistics of getting them to the quarantine hotels.

The Scottish Government this week unveiled plans that will see every person arriving from overseas, rather than from specific countries, subject to a 10-day hotel quarantine.

Providing false or misleading information on the compulsory passenger locator form is an offence punishable by imprisonment.

Heathrow is expecting up to 8,000 passengers per day
Heathrow is expecting up to 8,000 passengers per day Credit REUTERS

The Government's quarantine package includes the cost of transport from the airport to the designated hotel, food, accommodation and testing.

People may only arrive into Heathrow Airport, Gatwick Airport, London City Airport, Birmingham Airport, Farnborough Airport or any military airfield or port, according to the legislation.

The guidance states that it will cost £650 for a second adult or child aged over 12 to stay in the room, and a further £325 for a child aged between five and 12.

The tougher quarantine restrictions also carry heavy fines and penalties with potential prison sentences of up to 10 years.

The government says it has signed contracts with 16 hotels so far, securing almost 5,000 rooms near English airports, with a further 58,000 rooms on standby.

The Government has struck deals with 16 hotels so far, providing 4,963 rooms for the new quarantine system, with a further 58,000 rooms now on standby.

The hotel was charging £65 for members of the public staying on Sunday night, while travellers using it to quarantine from Monday must pay £1,750 for 10 days.

- Will I be tested during my stay?

"It is extremely worrying that even the limited hotel quarantine booking system is showing signs of failing from the outset", the Labour MP said.