THE government is set to announce its Covid quarantine hotel plans today as Brits abroad brace themselves for mandatory isolation.
Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi said a decision on quarantining visitors from abroad at hotels was likely to be announced on Tuesday.
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Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi said a decision on quarantining visitors at hotels was likely to be announced on Tuesday[/caption]
Mr Zahawi told Sky News: “We review our border policy like any other responsible country would – Germany and Canada did a similar thing in January.
“We’ve done that with the pre-departure testing that is now required to enter the UK and of course with passenger locator forms.
“There will be an announcement on this issue later on today, so I can only say to you that it is the right thing to do, because I am the vaccines minister, that as we vaccinate more of the adult population, if there are new variants like the South African or the Brazilian variants, we need to be very careful.
There will be an announcement on this issue later on today, so I can only say to you that it is the right thing to do, because I am the vaccines minister, that as we vaccinate more of the adult population, if there are new variants like the South African or the Brazilian variants, we need to be very careful.
“We acted on those very quickly and of course dealt with travel from those countries, and from Portugal and elsewhere, rapidly so it is important we continue to review our border policy and an announcement will be made when a decision has been taken.
“And of course the industry itself will be engaged with heavily, including (Health Secretary) Matt Hancock engaging with the industry to explain the decision making at health, as well as of course the business department with the Business Secretary.”
Brits thinking of booking a fortnight of sunshine were last night warned the restrictions could last months — possibly even a year until the pandemic is beaten worldwide.
Experts said families faced forking out at least £1,000 to be “imprisoned” in UK hotels once they returned, effectively putting paid to foreign hols.
Ministers will meet today to sign off the plans aimed at stopping new mutant strains entering our shores.
Boris Johnson said: “We want to make sure that we protect our population, protect this country, from re-infection from abroad.
“So that idea of looking at hotels is certainly one thing that we’re actively looking at.
“We need a solution that gives us the maximum possible protection against reinfection from abroad.”
In the meantime, the new foreign travel rules are likely to make it impossible for families to plan or book their holidays.
Travel experts said they feared the quarantine system could last for a year as it has in Australia.
Paul Charles, founder and chief executive of The PC Agency, said: “There is a real fear within the industry that this could last for a year. It’s not just a short-term fix, and like Australia this could go on for some time and cut Britain off from the rest of the world.”
Airline shares tumbled after senior ministers appeared to confirm the new restrictions. Gloria Guevara, head of World Travel & Tourism Council begged the government to reconsider.
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She said: “We implore the UK government to rethink the introduction of these extreme and sweeping border measures. WTTC is in no doubt they would destroy the UK travel and tourism sector as we know it.”
Heathrow bosses said it would be “effectively the closure of our borders”.
But Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “I think it is incredibly important that we are cautious at the border.”