In efforts to contain the spread of Covid-19 and of its possible variants, the UK has ordered a 10-day mandatory hotel quarantine for all incoming UK residents from 30 red-listed countries while those failing to provide valid reason for travel will be turned away and possibly fined.
The decision, announced on Wednesday by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a virtual press conference on the pandemic, aims to minimize travel across international borders and reduce the risk of Covid-19 transmission.
According to media reports, travelers from high risk countries (nations where Britain has imposed international travel bans) will be required to pay to quarantine at UK government designated hotels where Covid-19 testing will also be carried out.
Non-UK citizens/residents from countries on the list are banned
People who have been in or transited through the following countries in the last 10 days will not be granted access to the UK: Angola, Argentina, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Cape Verde, Chile, Colombia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ecuador, Eswatini, French Guiana, Guyana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Portugal (including Madeira and the Azores), Seychelles, South Africa, Suriname, Tanzania, Uruguay, Venezuela, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
It is reminded that the rule does not include UK nationals or those with residence rights, who will be able to enter the country but are required to quarantine for 10 days on arrival. Passengers will be met at the airport and transported directly into quarantine.
Meanwhile, all international arrivals to the UK, including British nationals, from countries not on the lists are required to self-isolate for 10 days.
England is under its third national lockdown, with similar measures in place in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The UK will also be boosting police presence at ports and airports and penalizing those violating regulations.
UK Home Secretary: ‘The rules are clear’
“There are still too many people coming in and out of our country each day. The rules are clear – people should be staying at home unless they have a valid reason to leave. Going on holiday is not a valid reason,” said UK Home Secretary Priti Patel.
Responding to the announced measures, the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) said it understood the government’s need to introduce temporary additional restrictions “but this needs to come with support for the jobs and businesses affected and a clear roadmap forward for travel”.
“The introduction of quarantine hotels for ‘red list countries’ builds on a mountain of existing measures for travel, and we need to see a clear plan for how these will be lifted. The government needs to work with the industry to develop a route forward for reopening travel, reviewing all of the existing measures and coordinating with overseas governments,” said ABTA.
UK coronavirus-related deaths exceeded 100,000 on Tuesday making the UK the first European country and the fifth in the world after the US, Brazil, India and Mexico to exceed 100,000 deaths.
On Thursday, the UK reported 3,725,637 Covid cases and 102,085 deaths.
PM Johnson said government needed to focus on keeping the virus under control and accelerating the vaccine rollout in Europe. With regard to vaccination, more than 7.1 million people in Britain have received their first dose so far, according to latest official figures.