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After a period of uncertainty concerning the details, it now seems that the UK Government has settled on a hotel quarantine policy for people returning from countries deemed as high risk. The new rules kick in on 15th February 2021.
With the exception of British and Irish Nationals (and third country nationals with residence rights), if travellers have been in or through any of the countries listed below in the previous 10 days, they will be refused entry to the UK.
British and Irish Nationals (and third country nationals with residence rights) who have been in or through those same ‘red list’ countries are allowed to return to the UK but must undergo an enforced quarantine at “a Government-approved facility for a period of 10 days”. As of today (6th February 2021), the red list countries are as follows:
- Cape Verde
- Democratic Republic of the Congo
- French Guiana
- Portugal (including Madeira and the Azores)
- South Africa
- United Arab Emirates (UAE)
According to the BBC,
“Arrivals will be met at the airport or point of entry and taken to the hotel. If travellers wish to go outside, for example to smoke, they will be accompanied by security guards.
Hotels near airports including Heathrow, Gatwick, London City, Birmingham, Bristol, Manchester, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen are expected to be used.”
The cost of the quarantine will have to paid by the traveller and is believed to be ~£80 per day. The red list countries will be reviewed regularly and the quarantine policy will be in place until at least the end of March.
It will be interesting to see how the Government implements all this in the next 9 days. There are plenty of issues in terms of staffing and insurance that would need to be resolved, but with sufficient will (and funding) it should be possible.