Travellers arriving back in the UK from 30 countries with a known risk of new coronavirus variants will be forced to isolate for 10 days in hotels, it was announced today.
The new measures will apply to those British nationals returning to the UK from countries including South Africa, Portugal, and South American nations, Boris Johnson said.
International travellers from the 30 countries labelled “high-risk” have been banned from entering the UK since Friday.
But Labour said that the policy should be expanded to cover people returning to the UK from every foreign country.
They are concerned that the new rules do not prevent people from travelling through third countries to get to the UK.
Home secretary Priti Patel said that the government would not hesitate to add more countries to the list of those covered by the new rules.
British nationals who cannot be refused reentry will be met at the airport and transferred to such accommodation “without exception”.
These facilities will be opened as soon as possible, the Prime Minister added, and will be managed by the Department of Health.
However, Patel revealed that discussions with the hotel industry were still underway.
Ministers will return to parliament in the coming days to provide more details of the plan.
People who attempt to travel overseas without a valid reason would be turned around at ports and airports, she said.
Airlines will be required to check that passengers are travelling for legitimate reasons, and be fined if they do not remove passengers without exemptions.
Patel added that police would step up checks on households to make sure that people were isolating.
The plan will be implemented across the UK, but SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford said that the devolved administrations in Scotland and Wales wanted to go further and quarantine all arrivals from overseas.
Ministers agreed on the ban at a meeting yesterday after fears emerged about new variants from Brazil and South Africa, which are believed to be more contagious.
In response to the plan, the airlines and tourism industry called for more financial support.
Henry Smith, chair of the future of aviation parliamentary group, said that a “comprehensive package of financial support” for the industry must be delivered “without delay”.
The London Chamber of Commerce agreed that although the “hotel quarantine” plan would be beneficial to UK efforts to control the pandemic, more support was needed for sectors such as tourism and aviation.
Chief executive Richard Burge said: “Our aviation and travel sectors will be key, when the time is right, to the economic recovery of London and UK regions.
“Government must provide sufficient support until then, as failure to do so will lead to recovery becoming a delayed arrival.”