Eleven months after the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, the UK government imposed mandatory hotel quarantine for all arrivals from the selected ‘high-risk’ countries.
The stricter travel restrictions are designed to reduce the introduction and transmission of new types of the virus.
The strategy of using quarantine hotels or other government-mandated facilities where travelers must isolate themselves has already proven successful in other countries including Singapore, Taiwan, Australia and New Zealand.
In the plans announced on April 9, international travel was given the official green light by the Global Travel Task Force, which is subject to the traffic light system.
The new rules mean that every country or region will be classified as red, amber, or green. There will also be a “green watchlist,” a measure the government will use as a way to identify countries most at risk of going from green to amber.
The traffic light system will come into effect no later than May 17.
But what are high-risk countries and what are the rules? Here’s everything you need to know.
What are high-risk countries?
The government has announced plans for a hotel quarantine for Britons returning from high-risk “Red List” countries to prevent the entry of new variants of the Coronavirus into England.
The only expatriates permitted from these countries are British and Irish citizens or those with residency rights in the United Kingdom.
Read more: When will the Green List be announced and who will it be on?
The states are located mainly in South America and South Africa. Here is the full list.
- green head
- Democratic Republic of the Congo
- French Guiana
- Sultanate of Oman
- South Africa
- The United Arab Emirates
The list was originally 30 countries long. On January 28, Transportation Minister Grant Shaps said that three more countries were added to the red list: the United Arab Emirates, Burundi and Rwanda.
The quarantine of the hotel went into effect on February 15th.
On March 15th, Portugal and Mauritius were removed from the list but Ethiopia, Oman, Qatar and Somalia were added.
On April 2, the government announced the addition of Kenya, Pakistan, Bangladesh and the Philippines.
On April 19, India was added.
What determines whether a country is a high risk country?
Since the move to quarantine hotels is primarily a response to the new variants of Covid-19, the country will likely be considered a “high risk” if one of the new variants is identified there.
In addition to the UK-specific variant, named B.1.1.7, other mutations have been found in South Africa (1.351) and Brazil (p. 1). The latter “contains a set of additional mutations that may affect its ability to be recognized by antibodies,” according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Read more: Who pays for the hotel stone and how long will it last?
“These variants seem to spread more easily and quickly than other variants, which could lead to more cases of Covid-19. At the moment, there is no evidence that these variants cause more serious diseases or increase the risk of death,” he adds.
According to the Global Travel Task Force’s second report, published on April 9, the main factors in assessing a country’s risk factor will be infection rate, prevalence of variants of concern and progress in the vaccination program.
Boris Johnson has announced that 22 countries are on the list of quarantine hotels
Where will high-risk travelers stay and how will they get there?
According to Health Secretary Matt Hancock, 16 hotels have been contracted, for a total of 4,600 rooms. Bath Road, which runs parallel to the runway at London’s Heathrow Airport, has been called “Solitude Row”.
Passengers in particular will be ‘escorted’ to the quarantine hotel upon arrival.
Fines of up to £ 10,000 will be levied on arrivals who are not subject to the stipulated hotel quarantine, while people who misrepresent their travel history on passenger locator forms face up to 10 years in prison.
Travelers will have to finance the quarantine themselves, at a cost of £ 1,750 per person for solo travelers, which includes 10 days (11 nights) in room and food. The extra people for the same hotel room will pay much less. The second will pay just £ 650, with additional children’s discounts: £ 325 each. A family of four will pay £ 3,050.
How long is the quarantine?
The current quarantine for all arrivals to the UK is 10 days and 11 nights. This will remain the same for any entrant from the Red List countries once the traffic light system goes into effect, which will not be earlier than May 17.
What about all the other arrivals?
All travel lanes were suspended on January 18 – meaning those entering the country from non-high-risk destinations must remain in self-isolation for 10 days. However, they are permitted to do this at home or while staying with friends or family. Detainees are required to “travel directly to the place you are staying,” but they can use public transportation to complete their journey.
When a new traffic light system is in place, travelers from the countries on the amber list will need to self-isolate for 10 days at home, with a chance of early release in England if they pay for another test five days later.
For travelers returning from countries on the green list, quarantine will not be required upon return, but pre-booked post-arrival PCR testing will be required. This will likely cost over £ 100. It should be taken on the day of arrival (“day zero”), the next day or the next day (“day two”).