James Cleverly says no hotels are signed up for quarantine
More than one week after Prime Minister Boris Johnson first announced the new hotel quarantine policy, ministers have finally revealed how the plan will be implemented. The new rules will affect huge numbers of people arriving in the country every day. Currently, travel for non-essential purposes is banned under the lockdown rules, and the estimated 20,000 people touching down in Britain’s airports every day already have to quarantine at home – but this is about to change.
What are the rules for the hotel quarantine policy?
The new hotel quarantine rules will come into effect on Monday, February 15.
The rules will apply to travellers coming in from the 33 ‘red list’ countries dictated by the Government.
You can see the 33 countries currently on the Government’s red list here.
Travellers are expected to be met at ports of entry and taken directly, in special taxis or minibuses, to their accommodation, which they will have to pay for themselves.
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Hotel owners will be asked to provide rooms for more than 1,000 new people every day, a Home Office document suggests.
Passengers will be forced to stay in their rooms for 10 nights, with security guards accompanying them if they need to go outside.
The document says security will “accompany any of the arrived individuals to access outside space should they need to smoke or get fresh air”.
Quarantine hotels are expected to be set up near major airports including Heathrow, Gatwick, London City, Birmingham, Bristol, Manchester, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen.
According to reports, the Government wants the hotels to be made available “on an exclusive basis”.
Guests will have access to three meals a day in their rooms, with tea, coffee and fruit also available.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the move at the end of last month, with the delay in implementing the measure drawing a great deal of criticism from the opposition and the travel industry.
Labour Shadow Home Secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds said it was “beyond comprehension” that the policy wouldn’t come into effect until February 15.
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He said: “We are in a race against time to protect our borders against new Covid strains.
“Yet the hotel quarantine will come in to force more than 50 days after the South African strain was first discovered.
“Even when these measures eventually begin, they will not go anywhere near far enough to be effective in preventing further variants.”
Mr Thomas-Symonds added: “As ever with this Government, it is too little too late.”
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said the department was “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”.
They added ministers were “rightly engaging with representatives from the hospitality, maritime and aviation industry, and learning from our friends around the world”.
The spokesperson continued: “In the face of new variants, it is important that the Government continues to take the necessary steps to protect people and save lives.”
More details are expected to be laid out next week on the scheme’s logistics, including how travellers can book themselves into quarantine hotels.
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