An announcement regarding travellers arriving in the UK being required to quarantine in hotels is expected to soon be made by the Government.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to discuss the decision with ministers before making an official announcement.
What is a quarantine hotel?
Those arriving from countries with high Covid infection rates, such as South Africa, would be required to stay in a hotel for a period of 10 days.
The coronavirus-related measures are likely to apply to UK citizens and those with permanent residency rights arriving from high risk countries, but it is believed differing views currently remain among ministers over whether restrictions should apply to arrivals from all countries or just a specific list.
Senior government ministers are due to meet on Tuesday (26 Jan) to consider further travel restrictions, including travellers arriving in the UK being required to pay to quarantine at a designated hotel.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Monday (25 Jan) that the “idea of looking at hotels is certainly one thing we’re actively now working on.”
“We need a solution that gives us the maximum possible protection against reinfection from abroad,” Mr Johnson added.
When asked about the possible introduction of hotel quarantining, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said on Monday that it is “reasonable to take a precautionary principle” in regards to protecting the nation.
Hotel quarantine is already in use in countries including New Zealand and Australia, where the accommodation cost falls to the traveller. However, these can be waived for those who can prove they are unable to pay, and there are also certain exemptions.
‘We stand ready to support the Government on that’
Rob Paterson, chief executive of Best Western hotels group, said that offering travellers hotel rooms at a reduced cost could help hoteliers with losses, as hotels are currently closed due to lockdown restrictions.
He said travellers returning to the UK who are required to quarantine could expect to pay “considerably reduced” prices for a stay in one of the company’s hotels, although he did not specify a price.
Mr Paterson told BBC Breakfast: “Naturally, we’d much rather be open and trading at our normal levels, but what we’re doing at the moment is just about covering costs.
“Most hoteliers across the entire country are losing thousands and thousands of pounds every month, so a contract just to stem the losses would be a welcome contract for our hotel, and we stand ready to support the Government on that.”