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On Thursday evening the government announced it would implement mandatory hotel quarantine for arrivals in the UK from high-risk countries, but not until 15 February.
The Foreign Office minister, James Cleverly, has defended the government’s delay in introducing the scheme, as ministers were reportedly racing to reserve thousands of hotel rooms near airports in time.
Cleverly told Sky News on Friday: “We’ve been working with international partners who put a similar package in place – New Zealand, Australia, for example – to see how that works. It’s very easy for you to say, oh, all you have to do is … but hindsight is a wonderful thing.”
Yesterday, a hotel boss lamented a lack of communication from the government with the hotel industry.
Ministers expect almost 1,500 UK residents a day to return from 33 “red list” countries, which includes most of South America, southern Africa, UAE and Portugal, where new variants of coronavirus are circulating. These arrivals will have to quarantine at their own cost in government-approved hotel quarantine facilities for 10 days.
Non-UK travellers from these areas are barred from entry to the UK, meaning the quarantine plan will apply only to UK passport holders.
Officials were booking rooms in hotels around key airports such as Heathrow, Gatwick, London City, Birmingham, Bristol, Manchester, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen, according to BBC News. Reports claimed up to 28,000 hotel rooms were being sought for the plan.
I’m Jedidajah Otte and will be taking you through today’s developments in all things pandemic in the UK for the next few hours. Do feel free to get in touch with comments, tips and updates, you can reach me on Twitter @JedySays or via email.
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: UK Covid live: minister defends hotel quarantine delay, saying time is needed to prepare | World news