Is this the death knell for summer holidays? Boris Johnson is set to give go-ahead for Australia-style quarantine with all UK arrivals – including returning British travellers – paying to isolate at hotels, sources say
- Minister plans will force travellers to isolate for ten days when they enter Britain
- Cabinet sources expect Prime Minister to sign off on a comprehensive proposal
- It means Britons will face having to pay extra, on top of the cost of their trip
British holidaymakers returning home won’t escape an order to quarantine in airport hotels – signalling the death knell for summer getaways.
Ministers are finalising plans to force travellers to isolate for ten days as soon as they enter Britain, with details to be decided tomorrow.
Boris Johnson had wanted to exempt British residents and only target those arriving from places where new strains of the virus have been detected.
But Cabinet sources last night said they expect the Prime Minister to sign off on a comprehensive proposal – modelled on Australia – that will see all arrivals sent to airport hotels, regardless of their nationality and where they have come from.
British holidaymakers will be forced to isolate for ten days as soon as they enter Britain under new plans being drafted by ministers. Pictured: Passengers wait in queues at Heathrow Airport
Boris Johnson had wanted to exempt British residents but Cabinet sources last night said they expect the Prime Minister to sign off on a comprehensive proposal
It means people who live in Britain will face having to pay extra, on top of the cost of their trip, to spend their quarantine period in a hotel patrolled by security guards.
Blasting the move, Paul Charles, chief executive of travel company The PC Agency, told the Mail: ‘This is destroying confidence among holidaymakers.
‘People are not booking summer holidays because they don’t believe there is an end game which will see these blanket measures removed.
‘This is a sure-fire way of destroying Britain’s aviation and travel industries.’
It came as Matt Hancock ramped up the Cabinet war over border restrictions last night as he suggested a blanket ban on all arrivals may still be needed.
The Health Secretary warned it is ‘absolutely critical’ Britain is protected from new mutant strains of the virus that might not respond to the vaccine.
Mr Hancock, who is one of the ministers who has been pushing for stronger measures, yesterday said that all 77 cases of the South African coronavirus variant detected in the UK have been linked to travellers.
The plans will see all arrivals sent to airport hotels, regardless of their nationality and where they have come from. Pictured: Beach goers enjoy the sunshine at Nova Icaria beach in Barcelona amid the coronavirus pandemic
Matt Hancock warned it was ‘absolutely critical’ Britain was protected from new mutant strains of the virus
A further nine cases of the Brazilian variant have also been picked up here but, again, none were linked to community transmission.
The Health Secretary said the new strains ‘I really worry about’ are the ones that have not yet been spotted, as he suggested measures targeted only at people arriving from specific areas would not be enough.
Ravers fined thousands over illegal bashes
Hundreds of partygoers were fined at the weekend after hiding in closets and even a tent in a bid to escape officers.
Scotland Yard handed out more than £15,000 in fines after 300 people were caught breaking Covid rules at an east London rave underneath a railway arch at 1.30am yesterday.
Organisers had padlocked doors from the inside to prevent officers gaining entry, with dozens scaling fences to dodge police.
A total of 78 people were issued with £200 fixed penalty notices for attending the illegal gathering.
It comes after the Met revealed on Saturday that two officers were injured as they broke up a 200-strong party in Beauchamp Place near Harrods at about 3.30am on January 1.
In Birmingham, police found revellers in cupboards when they broke up a party attended by over 50 students on Friday. And Lincolnshire Police fined eight campers from different households partying in a one-man tent in Woodhall Spa.
Asked whether there should be an absolute blanket ban on people coming into this country, Mr Hancock told Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday programme: ‘We have got to have a precautionary principle.
‘We’ve introduced pre-departure testing… but it is absolutely vital that we protect this country from a new variant that may not be as well dealt with by the vaccine. We cannot risk the progress that we’ve made.’
Appearing on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, he added: ‘The argument has changed and the conversation around borders has changed because of two things.
‘One, the new variants and two, the success of the vaccine rollout programme, which means that we cannot put all of this progress at risk.’
Mr Hancock suggested that the public would not be issued with vaccine passports for use at home, but appeared to concede that they may be needed in future for overseas travel.
Meanwhile, Shadow Foreign Secretary Lisa Nandy said yesterday that Labour had been ‘pushing the Government to take tougher measures at the border since last spring’.
She told Marr: ‘Scientists tell us that there are a number of countries where these strains are emerging that just simply do not have the capacity to map what is happening.’
A poll of 1,109 adults by Opinium on behalf of campaign group One Rule For Them last night showed 79 per cent think there should have been stricter border controls far earlier.
Ministers hope the new move will improve compliance with existing quarantine rules.
- Israel is ‘closing the skies’ to prevent a fast-spreading or vaccine-resistant form of Covid entering the country. The measure was due to last until January 31, when its national lockdown is set to be eased.