The UK’s quarantine hotel programme has come into force today as the government continue to tackle the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
UK and Irish nationals and UK residents returning to England from 33 “red list” countries, hotspots with Covid-19 variants in circulation, are required to quarantine in hotels for 11 nights.
In Scotland, the rule applies to people returning from any destination.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the system has been operating “smoothly” since it came into force at 4am today (Monday).
Asked on Times Radio how quarantine hotel-bound passengers are being prevented from mixing with other arrivals in airports, he said: “All of this has been clearly set out, and I’m glad to say that, as of 6.30am when I got my latest update, this is working smoothly.
“We’ve been working with the airports and the Border Force to make sure that everybody knows (how it works).
“We have had to put this in place rapidly, I make no apologies for that, and we’ve been working with Heathrow and others.”
The Press Association has compiled a list of key questions following the introduction of the new rules.
Here is a breakdown of what the new rules mean across the UK and and a full list of the 33 “red list” countries.
What is the new policy?
Some international arrivals are required to quarantine in a hotel room for ten days.
Who does this affect?
The rule applies to UK and Irish nationals, and UK residents, returning to the UK.
Does it matter which part of the UK I arrive in?
Yes. In Scotland the policy applies to all arrivals, but in England it is only relevant for those who have been in a country on the Government’s travel ban “red list” in the past ten days.
There are no international flights arriving in Wales or Northern Ireland.
What is a “red list” country
This is a list of 33 countries deemed at high risk of coronavirus variants, which includes all of South America, southern Africa, Portugal and the United Arab Emirates.
What about people are are not a UK or Irish national or a UK resident?
If they have been in a “red list” country in the past ten days they are banned from entering the UK.
What should I do before I return to England?
Travellers must take a coronavirus test and get a negative result in the three days before they travel.
Those coming from a country on the Government’s banned list must book a “managed self-isolation package” which includes a hotel, transport and testing.
Passengers will also be required to complete a passenger locator form with details of where they will quarantine on arrival.
Those who provide false information on their locator form could face up to ten years in prison.
How much does a stay at a quarantine hotel cost?
The Government’s quarantine package includes the cost of transport from the airport to the designated hotel, food, accommodation and testing.
A single adult will be charged £1,750 for one room for the duration of their stay, an additional £650 for anyone over the age of 12 and £325 for children aged between five and 12.
There will be no additional fees for children under five.
What if I don’t book a quarantine hotel?
People face a fine of up to £4,000 for not booking a quarantine package, and will still have to pay for one on arrival.
Can I fly into any airport?
No. Those booked into a quarantine hotel can only fly into Heathrow, Gatwick, London City, Birmingham and Farnborough airports.
Those with pre-existing bookings to a different port of entry must change it to one of the above.
People who fail to do this face a fine of up to £10,000.
What happens when I arrive?
Travellers need to provide their passenger locator form, passport and a negative Covid-19 test result to Border Force staff.
They will then be transported to their quarantine hotel, with transport also arranged back to the airport at the end of their stay.
Guests are required to quarantine in their hotel room for 10 days.
How many quarantine hotels are there?
The Government has struck deals with 16 hotels so far, providing 4,963 rooms for the new quarantine system, with a further 58,000 rooms currently on standby.
Will I be tested during my stay?
Guests need to take a Covid-19 test on or before day two of their stay, followed by another on or after day eight.
Those who refuse to take a test will face a £2,000 fine, the Government said.
What happens if I test positive?
Those who test positive on day two must quarantine until day 12.
People who return a positive result on day eight must stay until day 18.
When can I leave my quarantine hotel?
People will be able to leave after receiving a negative result from the Covid-19 test on day eight and have quarantined for a full 10 days.
What if I’m returning from a non-“red list” country?
Passengers must instead quarantine for 10 days at home and complete two Covid-19 tests on the second and eighth day after arriving.
Full list of the 33 “red list” countries
- Cape Verde
- Democratic Republic of the Congo
- French Guiana
- Portugal (including Madeira and the Azores)
- South Africa
- United Arab Emirates (UAE)