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UK Reveals Tough New Hotel Quarantine Restrictions

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Since it was discovered that the UK was to introduce its own quarantine rules, various commentators spent the weeks speculating about the details and possible scenarios that British travelers might face. Yesterday, the government revealed the details about the UK’s system of quarantine – with the reality being that it is more expensive and tougher than many were originally expecting.

Here’s what was revealed about the UK’s new hotel quarantine system, plus an update on the current situation of Covid-19 in the UK.

social distancing london

UK’s Quarantine System Revealed – Information For Travelers

Speaking in Parliament yesterday, the British Health Secretary Matt Hancock described the details of the UK’s new quarantine plan. Hancock announced that from Monday, travelers including entering England from 33 high-risk countries would need to go into quarantine. This includes UK citizens returning home. 

london underground tube subway

Rather than self-isolated at home, they would need to stay in a government-contracted facility, which currently extends to 16 different hotels and 4,600 rooms. The length of stay is 10 days, and those traveling must pay for the stay themselves – at a cost of up to £1,750 for a solo traveler. The price includes the hotel, transport and testing. Those in quarantine will need to take two tests during their stay, once on day two and another on day eight.

Whilst these rules apply to those traveling to England, the nature of the UK’s devolved Parliament system means that other nations in the UK are free to impose their own rules. Scotland has opted for an even stricter approach, requiring travelers arriving into the country on any direct international flight to go into a quarantine hotel. Scottish Transport Secretary Michael Matheson also announced that the Scottish government was looking into a way to prevent travelers from landing in England and making their way up to Scotland to circumvent these rules.

Hefty Punishments For Rule Breakers

In order to ensure these rules are being followed, the British government has introduced severe punishments for those attempting to flout the rules. Travelers that arrive in England and lie on their passenger locator forms about visiting a “red-list” country could face up to 10 years in jail.

uk officer in mask

There are also fines for those refusing to comply with the new regulations. These fines are:

  • a £1,000 penalty for any international arrival who fails to take a mandatory Covid-19 test
  • a £2,000 penalty to any international arrival who fails to take the second mandatory test, as well as automatically extending their quarantine period to 14 days
  • a £5,000 fixed penalty notice, rising to £10,000, for arrivals who fail to quarantine in a designated hotel
UK masks police

The 33 high-risk countries that this applies to are:

Angola, Argentina, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Burundi, Cape Verde, Chile, Colombia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ecuador, Eswatini, French Guiana, Guyana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Portugal (including Madeira and the Azores), Rwanda, Seychelles, South Africa, Suriname, Tanzania, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Uruguay, Venezuela, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Plane taking off near London Heathrow International Airport

Covid-19 In The UK

The situation of Covid-19 in the UK makes for grim reading, with the country among the worst-affected nations in the world. However, there have been some positive signs in recent weeks. Cases of Covid-19 have almost halved in the past two weeks, and the number of hospitalizations is falling. The country has also vaccinated 12.2 million people to date – almost one in four adults in the country. With the new quarantine hotel requirements, there is hope that the current figures will fall even further over the next few weeks.

travelers in London England masks pandemic

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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling.  Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories


Wednesday 10th of February 2021

Welcome to Airstrip One comrades! Where boots stamp on human faces - forever!


Wednesday 10th of February 2021

Hello,I need updates about the new quarantine rules in USA part of the list . Because am about to travel to UK


Wednesday 10th of February 2021

LOL as if there’s more covid cases in Rwanda and Congo than the UK. This is such a joke and is more about punishing certain people + encouraging totalitarianism than safety. I’m just speechless, 10 years in jail for not telling the government everything they demand. Wow.