Covid hotspots worldwide: New quarantine hotel rules imminent – Who will need to isolate?

Thérèse Coffey grilled by host on imposing forced UK quarantine

The coronavirus crisis is a raging threat to nations around the world. Travel restrictions have been toughened in the UK, with new quarantine hotel plans for British nationals travelling to the UK from high-risk countries to be discussed by ministers on Tuesday. But which countries are likely to be deemed high-risk in light of these new plans?

Travellers returning to the UK from high-risk countries may be forced to pay to quarantine in hotels, under new Government plans.

The new plans came as Prime Minister Boris Johnson faced increasing pressure from ministers to toughen border controls.

These tighter restrictions are aimed at preventing new variants of Covid-19 entering the UK.

Some of the new Covid variants are believed to be more easily and quickly spread than the original virus.

Mr Johnson claimed the new UK Covid variant could prove to have a “higher degree of mortality” than the original strain.

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The new travel plans are reportedly due to be discussed by ministers on Tuesday and would see British nationals returning to the UK bussed to hotels upon arrival.

Mr Johnson said ministers were “actively working on” the idea, amid concern over new coronavirus variants.

Most foreign nationals from high-risk countries already face UK travel bans, including those arriving from countries where new variants have been discovered.

Whitehall sources said those quarantining in hotels would have to pay for the costs of their own accommodation.

Hotel quarantines are currently in place in other countries including New Zealand and Australia.

The systems in place in these nations see all arrivals, aside from a few exceptions, quarantine in a designated hotel for 14 days upon arrival.

Australian Medical Association president Omar Khorshid has said quarantine arrangements would remain “until we have at least all of our vulnerable population vaccinated and possibly the entire population”.

In Australia, the system is run on a state level, with regions introducing tough early lockdown restrictions in response to new cases.

In New Zealand, isolation stays cost NZ$3,100 (£1,629) for the first adult in each hotel room, and $950 for each additional adult (£499) and $475 (£249) for each child sharing the room, with no charge for children under the age of three if they are staying in a room with another person.

Hotels are assigned at random to travellers and pre-approved by the New Zealand government.

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Which countries are likely to be deemed high-risk?

There are several countries which are likely to be included in the high-risk category.

Brazil and South Africa are likely to be included as they are places where new variants of the virus were recently discovered.

Countries close to these regions may also be included in the high-risk category.

According to the World Health Organization’s coronavirus dashboard, there are 183 countries which are classified to have community transmission.

This means there is evidence of a large number of cases being transmitted and increasing positive tests across the population.

Of these cases, the following 10 countries have reported the highest number of deaths in the last 24 hours:

  • The USA
  • Mexico
  • The UK
  • Brazil
  • South Africa
  • The Russian Federation
  • Italy
  • Colombia
  • Germany
  • Portugal.

There are a further 28 cases where sporadic cases have been reported and 22 where no cases have been identified.

What other travel rules are in place in the UK?

England is currently in its third national lockdown which means you must remain at home and must not travel, including international travel, unless you have a legally permitted reason to do so.

This means all travel should be avoided unless it is deemed necessary under the current lockdown rules.

In those cases of essential travel, all arrivals into the UK must quarantine for up to 10 days, however, this self-isolation period can be undertaken at home.

In England, this period can be cut short with a second negative test after five days.

Almost all people arriving in the UK must also test negative for Covid-19 to be allowed entry, with a test being taken no more than 72 hours before travelling.

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