Hotel quarantine website taken offline on day of launch

Image Reuters The new travel rules add to restrictions that already ban Britons from travelling abroad for holidays

The Government guidance states that other ports of entry "may be added in the future" but for now anyone required to quarantine in a hotel who does not arrive at one of the designated airports "may face a penalty of up to £10,000 and will be charged for the cost of transportation" to the nearest designated entry point.

United Kingdom nationals or residents returning from 33 "red list" countries will be required to spend 10 days in a Government-designated hotel from Monday.

The government has struck deals with 16 hotels so far, providing 4,963 rooms, with a further 58,000 rooms now on standby, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said.

The government said it has tough measures already in place requiring all travellers into the United Kingdom, from any location, to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken no more than three days before departure and non-UK residents from the 33 red list countries are already banned from entering Britain.

On Thursday, Scottish Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said there will be a drop in vaccine supply across all four nations of the United Kingdom, caused by work being carried out by Pfizer - the manufacturer of one of the approved coronavirus vaccines. We have already taken tough action to limit the spread, protect people and save lives.

The UK government unveiled the plans earlier this month following pressure to tighten Britain's borders amid fears foreign virus variants could derail the country's so far successful mass vaccination programme.

"The rules coming into force today will bolster the quarantine system and provide another layer of security against new variants at the border".

- What if I don't book a quarantine hotel?

The regulations state that leaving for these exceptional reasons should only happen if the person "has been given prior permission by a person authorised by the secretary of state for this purpose".

The other four are Gatwick, London City, Birmingham and Farnborough.

The cost of a stay is 1,750 pounds ($2,425) for an individual traveler.

- How many quarantine hotels are there?

The minister said Monday the government had resolved well publicised problems with Heathrow Airport, Britain's major aviation hub.

"Good progress has been made to address a number of issues".

However, in a statement it said "queues at the border in recent days of nearly five hours are totally unacceptable".

"We will continue to work collaboratively with government over the weekend but ministers must ensure there is adequate resource and appropriate protocols in place for each step of the full end-to-end process from aircraft to hotel to avoid compromising the safety of passengers and those working at the airport".

A coach delivers passengers to the Radisson Blu Edwardian Hotel, near Heathrow Airport.

Those who fail to quarantine in such hotels face fines of £5,000 to £10,000, while anyone who lies on their passenger locator form about having been in a country on the red list faces a prison sentence of up to 10 years.

The PA news agency understands that the Renaissance London Heathrow Hotel is also participating in the programme.

Scotland, where every person arriving from overseas rather than just from specific countries will be subject to hotel quarantine from next week, will retain its tougher restrictions even if a UK-wide deal can not be reached, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said.

Those who have not visited a "red list" country, such as India, must still quarantine for 10 days at home and complete two mandatory COVID-19 tests on the second and eighth day after arriving.



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