Coronavirus: UK travel rules could tighten as ministers mull hotel quarantine for arrivals

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An aircraft prepares to land at Heathrow airport in London March 11, 2008. London's crowded Heathrow airport could almost double airline charges in the next five years, boosting its debt-laden Spanish owner but sparking fury among airlines that fly from there.      REUTERS/Alessia Pierdomenico (BRITAIN)
Various media reports over the weekend stated that new arrivals to the UK could face 10-day hotel quarantines. Photo: Reuters/Alessia Pierdomenico

Ministers will meet on Monday to discuss potential new changes to travel and quarantine rules for entering the UK.

Various media reports over the weekend stated that new arrivals to the UK could face 10-day hotel quarantines.

The discussions come following a tightening of restrictions and increased concerns over the spread of a new COVID-19 variant, which could be more deadly.

Other mutations of the virus from South America and South Africa are also being watched closely.

Current rules mean nearly all people arriving in the UK must produce a negative test to be allowed entry. At a press conference on Friday, prime minister Boris Johnson said that he couldn’t rule out further measures.

Current rules mean a test must be taken within three days before travel. Non-compliance could mean fines of up to £500 ($676.50).

Passengers are also required to quarantine for up to 10 days, however the isolation period can be cut down with another negative test after five days in England.

Some reports have said that 10-day hotel quarantines would be paid for by the traveller.

The moves come a week after Boris Johnson announced the UK would close its “travel corridors.”

Those measures will be in place until at least 15 February as ministers deal with containing the risk of a new variant identified in Brazil. The decision to close borders comes nearly a year after the coronavirus was first found in Britain.

READ MORE: KLM stops UK flights as Britain battles more ‘deadly’ COVID-19 strain

A Government spokesperson said: “We have shown we are prepared to take decisive action at the border where we believe it will aid our fight against coronavirus and we keep all measures under review.”

Airlines have also begun tailoring their approach to flight cancellations as more information becomes available. Dutch flag carrier KLM (AF.PA) said yesterday it has halted all flights between the UK and the Netherlands for five days due to the UK’s COVID-19 mutation. Airlines have also reviewed schedules and cancelled flights in response to measures.

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