Red list travellers check in as quarantine hotels go live

A floor sticker asks guests to adhere to social distancing guidelines at a hotel being used for quarantine near Heathrow Airport- Ben Stansall  AFP

Meanwhile, all travellers arriving into Scotland from overseas by air, rather than just those from the 33 red-list countries, now have to go into quarantine hotels.

The SNP government says it has introduced tougher rules than the Westminster government whose restrictions apply only to 33 countries on its "red list", which includes Portugal, Brazil and South Africa.

'We will continue to work collaboratively with Government over the weekend but Ministers must ensure there is adequate resources and appropriate protocols in place for each step of the full end-to-end process from aircraft to hotel to avoid compromising the safety of passengers and those working at the airport'.

The new policy requires all United Kingdom citizens and permanent residents entering England from 33 countries on a wider travel ban list to self-isolate at their own expense in approved hotels for 10 days and take several Covid-19 tests.

- What should I do before I return to England?

Airport and immigration officials are particularly anxious about passengers spreading Covid-19 as they wait in queues inside the terminals and the logistics of getting them to the quarantine hotels.

Additional adults (or children over 12) sharing the same room will pay £650 (about R13,000) per person.

People must quarantine in the hotel room but exceptions allowing them to leave include the need for urgent medical assistance, to exercise or attend the funeral of a close family member.

- Can I fly into any airport? The other four are Gatwick, London City, Birmingham and Farnborough.

Those with pre-existing bookings to a different port of entry must change it to one of the above.

Anyone refusing to take tests risks a fine of between £1,000 and £2,000, while those who do not self-isolate could have to pay between £5,000 and £10,000.

- What happens when I arrive?

Border Force have the power to issue fixed penalty notices to individuals suspected of lying on their passenger locator form and where necessary detain them for up to 3 hours.

Security will then escort passengers to baggage reclaim and to pre-arranged transport to the quarantine hotel.

Charlie Islam-Harry, manager of the St Giles Heathrow hotel, said staff would do regular welfare checks on guests during their enforced stays, adding: "It can't be easy for them to be in a bedroom for 10 days".

"But when it comes to making decisions that might hurt her popularity like forcing people to quarantine in a hotel all she does is copy the Tories".

All UK nationals or residents arriving back in England from high-risk countries will begin checking into government-designated accommodation as the hotel quarantine regime to prevent the spread of new coronavirus cases begins.

He said: "I made it, I'm glad I'm here and whatever it takes to stay - I'm good".

Epidemiologist Neil Ferguson, who advises the government on respiratory viruses, said officials were right to be cautious.

"I showed my test and it's negative".

Those who test positive on day two must quarantine until day 12.

Six hotels have been block-booked in Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow, with up to 1,300 rooms available.

The UK government unveiled the plans earlier this month following pressure to tighten Britain's borders amid fears foreign virus variants could derail the country's so far successful mass vaccination programme.

Passengers must instead quarantine for 10 days at home and complete two Covid-19 tests on the second and eighth day after arriving.

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