Hotel quarantine could be delayed to ‘mid-February’ says expert
Government plans to enforce mandatory hotel quarantine for arrivals into the UK from “high risk” countries are reported to be coming into force from February 15 according to “Government sources”. Downing Street is thought to be making an official announcement in the coming days.
The latest leak came from political correspondent Laura Kuenssberg. In a Tweet, she said: “Government sources confirm the hotel quarantine scheme for Britons returning from coronavirus hotspots will come into force on February 15.
“Announcement on this now expected soon.”
However, irate commenters took to Twitter to share their take on the quarantine rule, many of whom suggested the rule has come “too late”.
One commenter said: “Always too late!! [Travellers] will all have come back by then!!
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“The horse has bolted. It’s absolutely ridiculous and shameful.
“We’ve had enough of this none action!! Many of us have been stuck at home since March. NHS broken.
“It’s cruel when we going to hold the government to proper account.”
Another person questioned: “How many infected people will have arrived in the UK in that time?
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“We stumble from one farce to the next and, all the while, people keep dying.”
Currently, only arrivals from 33 nations, including South Africa, large swathes of South America and the United Arab Emirates, will be subject to the rule.
One Twitter user said: “If it’s just for Britons returning from hotspots, not covering enough travellers. What is wrong with this government?”
There are growing concerns the latest quarantine hotel announcement could cause an influx of arrivals in the days leading up to February 15.
“I guess Heathrow and other UK main airports are going to packed on the 14 then,” added another commenter.
Currently, it is thought arrivals who need to spend their quarantine in a hotel will have to foot the cost themselves.
“Currently £245 for a week’s stay in a four-star hotel for the week Feb 15 onwards,” said one Twitter user.
“Interesting to see what it is after the announcement.”
Another pointed out: “Who’s paying for the hotel? Because if a person refuses to use one and is put in one, they never agreed to pay for it.”
However, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the new rule is necessary to “protect our borders against new strains of the virus.”
“In order to reduce the risk posed by UK nationals and residents returning home from these countries I can announce that we will require all such arrivals that cannot be refused entry to isolate in Government provided accommodation such as hotels for 10 days without exception,” he said on January 27 in the House of Commons.
“They will be met at the airport and transported directly into quarantine.
“The department for health and social care is working to establish these facilities as quickly as possible.”
Despite this, experts have claimed the rule will be “hugely damaging” to the travel sector.
“If the Government put in hotel quarantine for everybody coming into the UK it would snuff out recovery in the aviation and travel sector,” Paul Charles, CEO of the PC Agency, told Sky News.
“It would reduce confidence. It would mean people would not be prepared to book future holidays until they are certain they wouldn’t have to quarantine when they return to the UK.
“It would be a hugely damaging policy measure and for that, I think the Government needs to think very very carefully before they do something that deliberately hurts the economy.”
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