Boris Johnson Confirms Travellers Returning From High Risk Countries Will Be Forced To Quarantine In Hotels For 10 Days
Travellers who cannot be refused entry will be forced into quarantine
Travellers returning to the UK from 22 countries with a risk of new Covid variants will be forced to quarantine "without excemption", Boris Johnson has confirmed.
The Prime Minister said the measures would apply to all UK citizens and residents returning to the country from 'high risk' destinations including South Africa, Portugal and South American nations.
Updating MPs on the UK's coronavirus situation, Mr Johnson said returning travellers would be met at the airport and transported directly to the facilities, which he confirmed would include hotels.
"We have also banned all travel from 22 countries where this a risk of known variants, including South Africa, Portugal and South American nations," he said.
"And in order to reduce the risk posed by UK nationals and residents returning home from these countries, I can announce that we will require all such arrivals who cannot be refused entry to isolate in govenrment provided accomodation, such as hotels, for ten days without exception.
"They will be met at the airport and transported directly into quarantine. The Department of Health and Social Care is working to establish these facilities as quickly as possible."
Mr Johnson said further details would be set out by Home Secretary Priti Patel later today, but confirmed that those caught trying to leave the country for holidays or other leisure purposes would be sent home.
All travel corridors have already been shut following concerns over new variants detected in Brazil and South Africa, with any person planning to travel to the UK expected to have proof of a negative Covid test taken no more than 72 hours before their departure.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock has previously said he increasingly worried about as-yet unknown variants, which could undermine the vaccine efforts.
Mr Johnson said there would be further discussion with leaders in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland to ensure the plans were followed "where possible" across the country.
But in a statement ahead of the announcement, Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the plans did not go "far enough".
She said: "I think I do have a duty at this point to say that I am concerned that the proposal does not go far enough and I've made that point very strongly in the four-nations discussions that we've just had today.
"We will be seeking urgently to persuade them to go much further, and indeed to move to a comprehensive system of supervised quarantine."
Meanwhile, the bosses of British Airways, EasyJet and Virgin Atlantic have written a joint letter to the Prime Minister saying they had seen "no compelling evidence" to support the plans.
"Policy should be based on evidence and we have seen no compelling scientific evidence that introducing a policy potentially of blanket quarantine in hotels, is necessary in addition to measures only recent introduced," they wrote.
"We request the opportunity to discuss both an exit plan and a bespoke support package with you urgently..."