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Covid-19: Travellers face £1,750 cost for England quarantine hotels

Travellers having to stay in quarantine hotels in England will be charged £1,750 for their stay, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has announced.

The measures, which come into force on Monday, apply to the UK and Irish residents returning from 33 red list countries.

Those who fail to quarantine in a government-sanctioned hotel for 10 days face fines of up to £10,000.

Meanwhile, all travellers arriving in Scotland from abroad by air will have to go into quarantine hotels.

People travelling from red list countries to Wales and Northern Ireland will be required to book and pay for quarantine in England, as neither destination currently has any direct international flights.

Travellers arriving into England who lie on their passenger locator forms about visiting a red list country face a fine of £10,000 or up to 10 years in jail.

It comes as the UK reported another 12,364 confirmed cases of coronavirus and a further 1,052 deaths within 28 days of a positive test – bringing that total to 113,850. More than 12.6 million people have received a first dose of the vaccine.

Delivering a statement in the Commons, Mr Hancock said 16 hotels have been contracted for the programme, with 4,600 rooms secured.

The health secretary also confirmed a new “enhanced testing” regime for all travellers arriving into the UK would begin on Monday, with two tests required during the quarantine process.

They will be required to get a test on days two and eight of their 10-day quarantine period, whether they are isolating at home or in a hotel. The tests, conducted by NHS Test and Trace, will cost travellers £210.

“People who flout these rules are putting us all at risk,” the health secretary told MPs.

Airlines and travel companies will be legally required to make sure travellers have signed up for the new measures before they depart, with fines for companies and passengers if they fail to comply, he said.

The penalties include a £1,000 fine for travellers who fail to take mandatory tests and a £2,000 fine for failing to take the second mandatory test – along with a 14-day extension to quarantine.

Failing to quarantine in a designated hotel carries a fine of between £5,000 and £10,000.

Asked when the travel rules would be relaxed, Mr Hancock said: “We want to exit from this into a system of safe international travel as soon as practicable and as soon as is safe.”

BBC

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