Boris Johnson announces new UK border restrictions
As part of the UK Government’s clampdown on travel, new quarantine hotel rules have come into force which impacts arrivals from the so-called “red list” countries. Travel bans are slapped onto these nations based on the number of cases of coronavirus they have, as well as whether any new variants of the virus have been detected.
So far, countries on the list include South Africa, most of South America and Portugal.
Travel to and from these countries is banned with the exception of British nationals and legal residents who need to return to the UK.
Upon arrival, they will be escorted to a Government-approved facility, such as a hotel, where they undertake their 10 days of isolation.
Most recently, Dubai, Rwanda and Burundi were added to the UK’s “red list”, however, according to Secretary of State for Grant Shapps though arrivals from these countries will need to self-isolate, they can do so “at home” for now.
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Though an exact start date for the new quarantine hotels has not yet been announced, experts are already eyeing other countries which may be added to the no-go list.
Among these is holiday favourite Spain.
Though Spain is currently restricting passenger travel from the UK, in normal years it has attracted up to 18 million British travellers seeking sun and sand.
“Latest infections table shows large increases over the last week in #Portugal #Spain – I would expect #UAE (and keep an eye on #Spain) to be added to hotel quarantine list this evening,” Paul Charles CEO of the PC Agency predicted before last night’s quarantine announcement.
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Though he was correct about Dubai, Spain remains off the list for now, but it sits just below banned Portugal in terms of its infection rate over the last seven days cumulative.
In the last seven days cumulative, Spain has recorded 547.4 new cases of coronavirus per 100,000 people.
Of course, travel to any destination is currently banned under UK lockdown rules.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the Government will “enforce this at ports and airports by asking people why they are leaving and instructing them to return home if they do not have a valid reason to travel”.
However, it is not clear how long the hotel quarantine rule will last, and whether or not it will have an impact on future travel.
Travel industry insiders are already showing concerns the new hotel quarantine will dampen “consumer confidence” for travel throughout the rest of the year.
Simon Dolan, founder of Jota Aviation said: “With the introduction of these even stricter quarantine rules, it is impossible to say that any of the sector’s 2.6 million jobs are safe.
“Consumer confidence is at an all-time low, passengers are unsure whether they will be able to travel, uneasy about whether they need to take a test and uncomfortable parting with their hard earned cash knowing that thousands are still waiting for a refund for flights cancelled in 2020.
“To help the sector get back on its feet, we need coordinated governmental support, not the added burden of hotel quarantine.”
However, easyJet CEO Johan Lundgren is more optimistic.
He suggests so long as there is a road map out of the current restrictions, the demand for international travel will bounce back.
Speaking to Sky News he said: “There are also some positive indicators that people really want to take their holidays, really want to travel, and the key to that is actually that the government start unwinding restrictions.”
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