May 13, 2021

cruciforme

travel, Always a step ahead

Don’t book summer holidays, says minister, with quarantine hotels set to be announced for Britons

2 min read

The Covid-O committee will also consider whether test and release, where travellers can leave quarantine if they have a negative Covid result on the fifth day, should continue for both those held in quarantine hotels and all other arrivals from lower risk countries, as currently happens.  

Also on the agenda is a proposal for all arrivals from any country to be required to stay in quarantine hotels.   

Although this is said to have been pushed by ministers including Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary, and Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, it is now thought likely that it will be held in reserve, as will the option to impose a blanket closure of UK borders.  

There are fears among travel chiefs that a blanket imposition of an Australian-style quarantine hotel policy on all arrivals would see travel and holidays effectively killed off until 2022.  

Other measures to be considered including mandatory GPS tagging for all travellers required to quarantine in the UK are also thought unlikely to be rolled out immediately despite support from the former Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

It is expected that there will be exemptions for freight flights and hauliers as well as specialists needed to maintain the UK’s critical infrastructure such as communications, security and energy, and potentially elite sportsmen including professional footballers.  

Hotel chains including Best Western, Accor and Intercontinental Hotels owner IHG said they would make rooms available for passengers to quarantine as needed.  

Rob Paterson, the chief executive of Best Western in the UK, said it “stood ready” to help and already had in place protocols each person would be treated as Covid-positive. Meals will be supplied to the doors of rooms three times a day, while travellers will be asked to leave their linen and towels out for cleaning each day. It would be replaced for them to make their own beds.  

“There are hundreds of rooms across the UK with many empty beds. We would be ready to support the Government on that front,” said Mr Paterson. “It’s a source of income, but it is at the same time a big blow for tourism in the country.”

The measures come on top of the requirement for all travellers entering the UK to have a negative Covid test within 72 hours of departure and the scrapping of the 63 travel corridors.  

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