UK to impose hotel quarantine for returning Britons

LONDON (AFP) – British citizens returning home from roughly 30 countries deemed at “high risk” from new coronavirus variants could soon have to quarantine in hotels, reports said yesterday.

Beefed-up rules will require the travellers to stay in hotels near airports for 10 days, according to the Times and BBC.

Non-United Kingdom (UK) arrivals from the targetted destinations – which include South America, Portugal, Cape Verde and South Africa – are already barred following the discovery of two virus variants in Brazil and South Africa.

The 10-day quarantine will cost returning Britons GBP1,500, with meals served at the bedroom door and security guards supervising stays.

Interior minister Priti Patel is due to make a statement in Parliament on the borders policy after a meeting of the government’s Covid-19 operations committee.

Housing Minister Robert Jenrick told Sky News the government would be taking “further steps… to ensure that there is less flow of individuals” returning but gave no further details.

The Times reported ministers were divided between those backing the limited quarantine regime and those favouring a blanket policy requiring arrivals from all destinations to self-isolate in hotels.

The main opposition Labour Party’s health spokesman Jonathan Ashworth said stricter border measures were long overdue and urged the government to consider a more comprehensive policy.

Quiet streets near London Bridge in central London during England’s third national lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus. PHOTO: AP