The UK’s tougher new travel rules to contain the spread of COVID-19 variants came into effect from Monday, involving compulsory hotel quarantines for anyone returning to England from one of the 33 high-risk “red list” countries.
Those arriving will have to pre-book and pay 1,750 pounds to spend 10 days quarantining in government-sanctioned hotels, covering the cost of the hotel, transport and two separate tests post-arrival.
Extremely serious breaches of the new norms could result in a 10-year jail term and fines of up to 10,000 pounds.
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.
“With the emergence of new variants, we must go further. The rules coming into force today will bolster the quarantine system and provide another layer of security against new variants at the border,” said UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock.
“These new measures are important to protect our vaccination programme, which has now seen 15 million people vaccinated, we all work towards restoring normal life,” he said.
Starting Monday, any UK or Irish resident who has been in a high-risk destination on the UK’s red list – comprising 33 hotspots with COVID-19 variants in circulation – will have to enter England through a designated port and have pre-booked a quarantine package to stay at one of the government’s “Managed Quarantine Facilities”.
Non-residents are currently not part of the essential-only travel rules of the coronavirus lockdown.
The government said it has tough measures already in place requiring all travellers into the UK, 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.