Martin Lewis discusses travel insurance for 2021 holidays
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Travel is banned for all non-essential reasons. Many countries have announced plans to reopen their borders to Britons in the coming months. The Government is coming under increasing pressure to remove the mandatory hotel quarantine. But could the Government really scrap the hotel quarantine soon?
The travel quarantine in the UK was implemented from mid-February.
People arriving in the UK may now have to take two coronavirus tests while quarantining, while others pay to self-isolate at a hotel.
Arrivals from a select group known as red list countries must quarantine for 10 days in a managed quarantine hotel.
People can take a coronavirus test on the second and on or after the eighth day of quarantining.
Quarantine hotels cost up to £1,750 per person which covers the cost of transport, tests, food and accommodation.
Accommodation must be booked in advance through an online booking system.
Travellers can currently only enter the UK from five airports including Heathrow, Gatwick, London City, Birmingham and Farnborough Airfield.
Arrivals from the red list countries are escorted straight to their hotel where they must remain in their rooms for 10 nights, with security guards accompanying them if they go outside.
Anyone who fails to quarantine when required to do so could be fined up to £10,000.
Fines may also be imposed on anyone who lies or deliberately misleads on their passenger locator form.
Quarantine hotels have faced backlash from the travel industry.
Pressure is mounting on the Government to bring about an end to the hotel quarantine programme.
Budget airline Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary said the initiative is a “PR start” which is “shambolic and ineffective”.
The Government must “urgently” set out its roadmap for the return of international travel, a group of MPs have demanded.
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The MPs in the Transport Select Committee have published an interim report which reveals “when and how the current quarantine schemes will be phased out.:
The report added the aviation industry which has been largely out of action for the past year.
Furthermore, it outlines how redundancies have mounted and overseas travel continues to be delayed.
The report reads: “In order to return passenger aircraft to the skies and to connect the UK to the world, a roadmap to restart international travel is urgently needed.
“The Department [for Transport] has not yet specified the standards that destination countries must meet on vaccine and testing capabilities in order to reopen for travel with the UK.”
The Government’s Global Travel Taskforce is due to release its plans for the reopening of international travel on April 12.
Ministers are reportedly considering other measures such as vaccine passports for UK citizens.
Currently travel overseas is only permitted for those travelling for essential reasons.
A legal challenge to the Government’s hotel quarantine initiative has thus far raised £9,325.
The challenge reads: “We believe that the Government, by forcing UK and Irish citizens and residents returning home to quarantine in a hotel at their own cost, regardless of whether they are showing any symptoms of COVID-19, or whether they have tested positive for COVID-19, has unlawfully and disproportionately violated their fundamental right to liberty and right to respect for private and family life.
“Whilst we acknowledge the importance of safeguarding public health in these unprecedented times, and understand that any public policy decision aiming to prevent the spread of the virus is by its nature difficult, the Government should in no way use this as an excuse to disproportionately deprive its citizens and residents of their fundamental human rights.”
The coronavirus lockdown roadmap outlines how domestic travel will be open from April 12 and Transport Secretary Grant Shapps this week announced his hopes international travel will be possible from May 17.
Speaking to BBC Breakfast, Mr Shaps said: “We know you won’t be able to travel until May 17.
“I would say that it makes sense to see how the course of the pandemic unlock proceeds.
“I am hopeful but, as with everything to do with this virus, you can’t say for certain.
“There are a lot of issues that we need to work around but I am working with international partners, both governments and organisations, to try to make it happen.
“We can’t provide cast-iron guarantees on it.”
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