Plans for some UK arrivals to face mandatory isolation in ‘quarantine hotels’ will not come into force until 15 February, it has been announced.
Last week, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that travellers that are still allowed to travel to the UK from a ‘red list’ of ‘high-risk’ countries would be transported directly from the airport to an approved hotel for quarantining. The plans are designed to reduce the risk of international variants of COVID-19 being spread in the UK, however, the Government has been facing growing criticism over the plans lacking detail and for the timeline of their implementation.
In a statement on Thursday evening, Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds said;
“It is beyond comprehension that these measures won’t even start until 15 February.
“We are in a race against time to protect our borders against new Covid strains. Yet hotel quarantine will come in to force more than 50 days after the South African strain was discovered.
“Even when these measures eventually begin, they will not go nowhere near far enough to be effective in preventing further variants. As ever with this Government, it is too little, too late.”
Under the plans, arrivals will have to pay for their own stay in isolation and will be provided with three meals a day delivered to their room, according to reports. It is understood that more details about the plans are too be announced next week.
The plans involve mandatory hotel stays for the arrivals of British and Irish nationals from ‘red list’ countries, as listed on the Government’s website. All other arrivals from these countries are currently banned.
Labour has called for tougher measures to be implemented, including hotel quarantine stays being mandatory for arrivals from all countries, not just those on the ‘red list’. Arrivals from countries not on the ‘red list’ currently have to show an approved negative Coronavirus test from within 72 hours of the beginning of their journey and have to self-isolate at home for up to 10 days – though there are concerns that the levels of compliance with self-isolation measures may be mixed.
On Thursday, it was announced that a further 915 people in the UK have died within 28 days of a positive COVID-19 test, taking the UK’s total to 110,250.