Thursday 4 February 2021 10:30 pm

Covid-19: Hotel quarantine policy for UK arrivals will begin on 15 February

The long-delayed Covvid-19 hotel quarantine policy for all UK arrivals from 33 ‘red list’ countries will begin on 15 February, City A.M. understands.

Boris Johnson last week announced that all arrivals, including UK passport holders from countries such as Portugal, Brazil, the UAE and South Africa would be forced to stay for 10 days in quarantine upon touching down in the UK.

Further details on the policy have been slow to surface, such as its cost, the time-frame for the policy and the hotels involved.

Read more: Hotel quarantine: What do the new rules mean for arrivals travelling to the UK border?

Tonight the Department of Health and Social Care said it had issued a commercial specification to hotels, asking for proposals on how they can convert their spaces into a managed quarantine facility.

Formal contracts are still to be awarded.

Next week the Government will set out how arriving passengers will pre-book their quarantine stay.

Although holidays abroad are currently illegal, the UK Government has been under pressure to formulate a stricter border policy to keep Covid-19 variants and infections out of the country when lockdown is lifted.

The Opposition had called on Boris Johnson to extend the hotel quarantine policy to all arrivals from all countries, not just the areas on the “red list”.

Read more: Aviation industry launches fresh plea for government support

The 33 destinations on the Government’s red list are: South Africa, Brazil, Portugal, Angola, Argentina, Bolivia, Burundi, Botswana, Cape Verde, Chile, Colombia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ecuador, Eswatini, French Guiana, Guyana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Rwanda, Seychelles, Suriname, Tanzania, Uruguay, the UAE, Venezuela, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

‘In the dark’

Earlier today the boss of the Best Western hotel chain has been “kept in the dark” over how the government’s hotel quarantine policy will work, a week on from its announcement.

Speaking to the BBC this morning, Rob Paterson, chief executive of the Best Western hotel group, said he had yet to receive any details concerning the policy’s implementation.

Airlines and airport operators had earlier warned against a blanked quarantine-for-all policy and have repeatedly sought specific government financial support after air passenger numbers declined to a trickle.

Read more: UK airline bosses warn PM against making all arrivals subject to hotel quarantine