BREAKING: UK government announce hotel quarantine & other travel measures

Heathrow Airport, Terminal 5, International Arrivals concourse, July 2009. Image ref CHE06002d, RP

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After days of speculation Priti Patel, the Home Secretary announced a raft of new measures in parliament this afternoon designed to keep the U.K .safe from new variants of Covid.

From a yet unspecified date, all passengers arriving from certain “red list” countries will be required to quarantine in a government-provided hotel. There will be no exemptions unlike before. The initial list is not exhaustive and could be added to at any time. I would guess this will be done on a weekly basis like the travel corridors which were announced every Thursday at 5pm.

Details are as usual thin on the ground (if it’s that’s important why are we still non the wiser a week after they first started talking about it?). There will be 22 countries on the red list, but the countries have not been confirmed. It’s assumed that they will be the same as now with them being in Southern Africa, South America, Portugal, and Cape Verde. 

As well as this, all departing passengers from the U.K. will have to submit a declaration prior to travel, detailing their reasons. They will also be asked by airlines and border officials if their journey is essential. Airlines will be fined if they fail to enforce non-exemptions properly. This is a step too far in my opinion. I don’t think people will be flocking to the airport for their holidays now anyway. Can you imagine if you have an elderly parent abroad and you get that call you need to get there quickly? Now you have to think how on earth you can prove that situation! Not only that but if they are in a country that needs quarantine, you now have to find both the airfare and the hotel quarantine money on top, just to be able to say goodbye to your parent. Sadly my own family could end up in this situation if the list of countries is extended. 

Police will be stationed at airports to question people travelling and send them home or fine them if they are deemed to be travelling without a good reason. 

There will also be more checks on people quarantine at home (figures show that currently only 3 in 100 people are checked on). 

No suggestions of how long this will last and when it might be reviewed were announced. For many travel businesses on their last legs, this could be the final straw. 


8 Comments on "BREAKING: UK government announce hotel quarantine & other travel measures"

  1. This is ludicrous. For UK residents within a certain radius of an airport, why can’t they arrange for them to be driven by gov drivers to their homes at their own expense, with quarantine enforced by the use of trackers that must be worn at all times as we do in the Cayman Islands. The system works really well. Police make regular checks and, if you stray outside, they nab you and deliver huge fines. You get to live in your own home, save money and the system doesn’t become overloaded as it will trying to use hotel beds when there aren’t enough available.

    Far too much, too late.

    • I agree 100%. Things were far too lax before, but this is too much. Several countries in the Caribbean and elsewhere have shown that quarantines can be done effectively without costing so much, both in money and health.

    • Totally agree. Barbados brought in tracking at very short notice and had a well regulated system with taxi drivers.

  2. Michelle makes an extremely good point. Use taxi drivers, whose livelihoods have been decimated, to ferry UK residents to their homes under tightly regulated and sanitized conditions.

    I can’t help wondering if the hotel industry, which has little business, isn’t lobbying to have their rooms filled, albeit at a phenomenal discount. Quarantine forces the cost to be passed onto travellers whilst helping the hotels, whereas a good tracking system would cost the taxpayer and rely on Government IT which is normally a total disaster.

  3. Way over the top, far too late, this should have been done in March/April last year. I find it incredible that young people as putting up with these restrictions. They will lose jobs, freedom and in the long run have to pay for all of this. Are they so zombied by Netflix not to understand what is happening. The government is being driven by media scare stories.

  4. Reminds me of that song ‘too little, too late’! Surely they can’t keep these restrictions beyond the end of March if the great silver vaccine bullet proves successful

  5. Unsure why there is surprise about the introduction of these rules. The U.K. population as a whole has proven itself unable to comply with many of the travel restrictions thus far, escalation was in many ways inevitable.

    Polices that work on Grand Cayman or Barbados are highly unlikely to scale to a population the size of the U.K.

  6. In the week when its reported over 100,000 have now died of Covid in the UK, its too little far too late.
    The countries that did well containing Covid closed the borders early & had early lockdowns, the UK did neither.

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