Quarantine hotels could cost families thousands

Greg Dickinson
·27-min read
Arrivals into the UK could face a mandatory 10-day quarantine in a hotel - Getty
Arrivals into the UK could face a mandatory 10-day quarantine in a hotel - Getty

Travellers arriving back into the UK could have to pay thousands of pounds to stay in ‘quarantine hotels’, under new Government plans.

Boris Johnson is under pressure from ministers to toughen border controls, to prevent new variants of Covid-19 entering the UK.

Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, and the Health Secretary Matt Hancock are understood to be pushing for a mandatory quarantine in Government-approved accommodation for all arrivals.

The cost of 14 days in a quarantine hotel for an adult is £1,692 in Australia, £1,630 in New Zealand and £642 in Thailand – the three countries that have introduced the measure so far.

There are fears that quarantine hotels could create havoc for outbound and inbound tourism, and that tighter border restrictions may put summer holidays under threat.

Paul Charles, CEO of the PC Agency, said: “Such a move would destroy confidence to book and would lead to a collapse in booking revenues for airlines, tour operators and many other travel specialists. As well as a collapse in visitor numbers spending money inbound.

“Boris Johnson needs to give a timeline for when they will be removed and be upfront on the economic impact on the aviation and travel sector.”

04:29 PM

What happened today?

A re-cap of today's main stories

  • Airline shares tumble as tighter restrictions loom

  • Travel bubble between Australia and New Zealand suspended for 72 hours

  • Ryanair forced to pull controversial 'Jab and Go' advert

  • Taiwan quarantines more than 5,000 people

  • Ireland eyeing up Q3 for 'meaningful' reopening of tourism

  • Iceland to launch vaccine certificates

  • UK faces £80m bill for Eurostar collapse

  • Hays Travel to close 89 stores

Read more on these stories below, and join us tomorrow for more in the world of travel.

04:11 PM

Just in: Hays Travel to close 89 stores

Hays Travel will close 89 shops as it consolidates its retail estate amid the continued pressures of Covid-19, Travelweekly is reporting this afternoon.

The UK’s largest travel agency said it is offering options for alternative work to 388 staff affected.

The company had deferred reviewing the performance of the former Thomas Cook shops it acquired in October 2019 to see if business returned in 2021. However, the third national lockdown and travel ban leading to major holiday operators suspending flights and holidays, meant the company had to act.

04:09 PM

More than 100 flights will land at Heathrow today – but where are they coming from?

It is estimated that between 80,000–100,000 people are still arriving into the UK every single week. Given that non-essential travel is banned, that figure might surprise you. But it illustrates just how much essential travel needs to take place to keep large parts of our economy ticking over.

It also raises doubts about the feasibility of the Government’s proposal to quarantine arrivals in Covid-secure hotels over fears about new variants.

Oliver Smith investigates where, exactly, they are all coming from.

03:52 PM

UK travel restrictions: what options are being considered, and where else have they worked?

Nine months on from Britain’s first lockdown, we are not closer, it seems, to freedom, writes Annabel Fenwick Elliott.

Despite the ongoing rollout of a vaccine, the UK is now staring down the barrel of a near-total border closure, as the Government prepares to bring in tough new travel restrictions to protect the nation against “unidentified new variants” of Covid-19.

Talks are ongoing, but it is looking increasingly likely that all overseas visitors, including returning Britons, will be subject to a ten-day stint in hotel quarantine; a policy with no clear end date that would render holidays off the cards for the foreseeable future.

The UK is set to further toughen its border rules
The UK is set to further toughen its border rules

There are other options on the table, among them quarantine only for arrivals from high-risk countries, and the stricter tracking of those permitted to self-isolate at their chosen address. Here we take a look at the possibilities, their implications, and which other nations have adopted them, successfully or otherwise.

Read the full feature here.

03:37 PM

"Devastating" – hoteliers respond to 'Quarantine Hotels' proposal

Andrew Coney, General Manager: The Hari Belgravia, London

"It is of course very hard hitting news that a lockdown could last as long as summer and with the foreign tourist market looking like it will take longer to return, we are pivoting accordingly to factor in the impact this may have. The HARI will be focusing on a range of innovative ideas to stimulate and attract the staycation market and capitalise on what will remain a great opportunity for UK hotels. By collaborating with creative partners in retail and the arts, we hope to welcome back our guests in the domestic market by providing urban cultural experiences that are long overdue”

Rebecca Masri: Founder of Little Emperors (multiple locations)

"The impact on UK hotels will be enormous – I am not sure how much more they can take. I hope that if the borders are closed, there will be some sort of incentives for domestic stays similar to those in place in Switzerland. At Little Emperors, bookings for UK hotels from May Half Term onwards have really picked up in recent weeks and it would be heartbreaking to see yet more cancellations as a result of a continued lockdown."

Alasdair Elwick, General Manager of The Forest Side, Keswick Hospitality, Lake District

"We cannot continue to plan without being given a framework to work in. The thought of an extended Lockdown is unimaginable and will result in huge closures and thousands of job losses."

Michael Caines, Chef Patron Lympstone Manor, Devon

"This recent news would have a devastating effect for everyone given where we are and what we have done to get here. The idea of keeping us closed for 6 months would be the death nail for many businesses and it is incomprehensible to expect businesses to come out of this in any shape of form without any form of additional support. Whilst it is no question it would be devastating; we must remain hopeful and understand that of course the government must do what they can to continue to reduce the spread and of recent, R has been noticeably lower than previous and we must continue to focus on the positives. It is vital there is continued consultation with the sector so that there is as much time as possible to prepare for both reopening and continued closure and in the meantime we must do what we can to abide by the rules by taking personal responsibility following the guidelines."

03:27 PM

UK faces £80m bill for Eurostar collapse

The potential collapse of Eurostar risks costing taxpayers £80m under a complex legal agreement that leaves Britain exposed to the operator’s financial plight.

Costs to run on a 67-mile stretch of railway between London St Pancras and the Channel Tunnel can be transferred from Eurostar to a domestic operator whose costs are funded by the Government, The Daily Telegraph has learnt.

Eurostar is in serious financial trouble
Eurostar is in serious financial trouble

The current legal arrangement allows for a shortfall of up to £10m to be transferred to operator Southeastern every six months between now and 2025. This means the Exchequer could be on the hook for £80m of costs if a rescue deal cannot be agreed.

Transport officials from both sides of the English Channel are locked in talks to rescue the rail operator, which has suffered a 95pc plunge in passenger numbers since the pandemic hit in March.

Read the full report here.

03:20 PM

Iceland to launch vaccine certificates

The Icelandic Government has announced it will soon be unveiling a digital vaccine certificate for its population.

A notice on the Icelandic Government website reads:

"Around 4,500 people in Iceland have received their second vaccination injection against COVID-19 and will thus be considered fully vaccinated. The Directorate of Health is now finalizing a digital solution that enables those individuals to obtain a vaccination certificate online at www.heilsuvera.is.

"The certificate must be in accordance with existing European standards and the International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis. The aim is to facilitate the movement of people between countries, so that individuals can present a vaccine certificate at the border and be exempt fromCovid-19 border measures in accordance with the rules of the country concerned.

"As announced earlier this month, the Minister of Health has decided that vaccination certificates that meet the Chief Epidemiologist of Iceland’s guidelines and are issued in an EEA/EFTA state will be valid at the Icelandic border. Those presenting such a certificate are exempt from official border restrictions and are therefore not obliged to undergo a screening."

03:11 PM

Ireland eyeing up Q3 for 'meaningful' reopening of tourism

The Chief Executive of Tourism Ireland, Niall Gibbons, said:

“Hope is on the horizon in 2021. I’m delighted to see the speed of vaccine rollout in the UK and Ireland and we’re reasonably confident that the entire population will be vaccinated by September. Once we get to a critical mass of 60 or 70%, once the elderly and those more at risk are looked after, I think you’re likely to see a sort of re-opening emerging.

Ireland is currently under a strict lockdown - Getty
Ireland is currently under a strict lockdown - Getty

“From a tourism perspective in any meaningful way it’s probably going to be Q3 in 2021. I’d love to say it’s going to be sooner. We are preparing for a significant relaunch in the later half of this year.”

Niall Gibbons added: “There is a huge pent-up demand to travel. The huge difference between now and the global financial crisis 10 years ago is that people are actually saving at a much faster rate, as governments have taken on greater responsibility. One thing that people will be keen to do is take a holiday. Our job is to make sure we are well-positioned for that and I think the second half of 2021 will see a strong rebound.”

02:57 PM

Government 'dragging feet' on border controls, claims Labour

Labour has accused Boris Johnson's Government of "dragging their feet" over border controls, amid reports that the Covid-O committee is now meeting tomorrow to thrash out a plan.

Nick Thomas-Symonds, shadow home secretary, said: "The Conservative government are again dragging their feet on setting vital protections at our borders, which must involve using hotels to help prevent the importation of further strains of the virus.

"Labour has been calling for a strategic approach to tackling this awful virus and the worrying strains that are now emerging. The lack of strategy means the UK continually acts too slowly and without proper planning in place.

"This continued failure is leaving the door open to new strains of Covid, putting people at risk and undermining the sacrifices everyone is making to address this virus.

02:46 PM

Meet the woman ice swimming in the Lake District every day in January

Sheets of ice and layers of snow aren't enough to deter Gilly McArthur, who is swimming in Cumbria's lakes and tarns everyday in January for charity.

02:27 PM

Room Mate Hotels to open first property in Ibiza

The affordable design hotel chain founded by Kike Sarasola will open its first hotel in Ibiza in May: Room Mate Ángel.

Room Mate Angel
Room Mate Angel

The new hotel, found in the port of Ibiza, will have 228 rooms, rooftop terrace with views of the old town, swimming pool, spa, piano-bar, restaurant-club and event room.

02:03 PM

Russian influencer chucked out of Bali

A Russian social media star with millions of followers has been kicked out of Bali for holding a party on the Indonesian holiday island that broke virus rules, authorities said Monday.

Sergey Kosenko's deportation comes days after Bali officials sent a gay American couple home after the women called the island "queer friendly" in tweets that went viral, and encouraged foreigners to come and stay there during the pandemic.

Kosenko, 33, was put on a plane bound for Moscow on Sunday and would be banned from returning for at least six months.

"We took administrative action against Sergey in the form of deportation," said Bali justice official Jamaruli Manihuruk.

01:47 PM

An eye-witness account of arriving in Heathrow

Heathrow was in the news over the weekend after photographs emerged of long queues. An anonymous reader got a first-hand look at the situation yesterday.

He wrote:

We arrived back at Heathrow on Sunday. Firstly we got held for 20-30 minutes on the plane (could have been the snow). Then we got to border control. I was in the international queue with my wife, who is a foreign national. Then a super-long British queue suddenly developed with probably four flights coming in at once.

For the next 45 minutes it looked like there was nobody working border control on international passports and very few officers on the UK lane. The police would stand around chatting, sometimes an officer would come and check one passport then leave again. Probably half of the few people who were checked in that time were sent to sit in a special group where they had to wait for further checks. Insofar as the police were doing anything it seemed to concern that group.

Then suddenly, after 45 minutes, the entire British queue just got let through the e-gates as normal. They were all out in 10 minutes and foreign checks went back to the speed you'd expect before Covid. They checked our Covid tests and the Passenger Locator Forms and it was very quick and friendly, which I thought made it even more strange they couldn't do it earlier.

The rest of the airport was empty, the queue is literally just the border and all because the police chose to handle it that way for some reason. Not to speculate on why they did it like that during a pandemic but bloody strange. And then no other flights arrived afterwards.

01:31 PM

Cruise cut-price offers and special promotions hailed as best ever

Cruise lines are steaming through January 2021 with a dynamic line-up of cut-price offers and special promotions that have been hailed as the best ever.

While some mass market players in the cruise world have cut prices – drastically in a few cases – others have incorporated extra value with cabin upgrades, complimentary drinks, free Wi-Fi and speciality dining. Several companies are also offering cut-price or free flights and overnight hotel stays.

In a bid to reassure customers who may be wary of booking amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, deals are offered with low deposits and flexible booking conditions permitting cancellations 30 days or less before departure.

Sara Macefield has more.

12:59 PM

Why Istria should be your first family trip after lockdown

Some escapism for you, this lunchtime.

Chris Leadbeater’s six-year-old son let his imagination soar on an adventure-packed holiday to the Croatian peninsula of Istria.

Pula offers relics of the Romans
Pula offers relics of the Romans

Read the feature here.

12:36 PM

Taiwan quarantines more than 5,000 people

Taiwan has quarantined more than 5,000 people as it tries to contain a rare domestic cluster of Covid-19 that began in a hospital treating infected patients recently arrived from overseas, reports Nicola Smith.

The number of Covid-19 cases has been kept below 1,000 since the start of the pandemic through a combination of early intervention, contact tracing and strict border controls and mandatory quarantine for arrivals from abroad.

Taiwan
Taiwan

However, an outbreak that began in the northern city of Taoyuan on January 12 and has now spread to 15 medical staff and their families has put the authorities on edge, prompting the government to cancel multiple mass events in the run-up to Lunar New Year.

Chen Shih-chung, the health minister, announced on Sunday that quarantine at home measures would be expanded to a wider range of people who may have had contact with infected patients at the hospital.

12:18 PM

PM: Government 'looking at potential of relaxing some measures' before mid-February

The Prime Minister said the Government will be "looking at the potential of relaxing some measures" before mid-February.

But he could not give a guarantee schools would be back before Easter.

He went on: "I do think now this massive achievement has been made of rolling out this vaccination programme, I think people want to see us making sure we don't throw that away by having a premature relaxation and then another big surge of infection.

"I totally understand the frustrations of parents, I really thank teachers for what they're doing, the immense efforts they're going to to teach kids online, and the Government has provided a lot of laptops... I know that's no substitute for direct face-to-face learning.

"Believe me there's nothing I want to do more than reopen schools, I've fought to keep schools open for as long as I possibly could.

"We want to see schools back as fast as possible, we want to do that in a way that is consistent with fighting the epidemic and keeping the infection rate down."

12:17 PM

PM wants tougher border control due to risk of 'vaccine-busting' new variants

Boris Johnson has said he is looking at the possibility of toughening the United Kingdom's border controls because of the risk of "vaccine-busting" new variants of the coronavirus.

"We want to make sure that we protect our population, protect this country against reinfection from abroad," Mr Johnson said. "We need a solution."

"We have to realise there is at least the theoretical risk of a new variant that is a vaccine busting variant coming in," he said.

Johnson said the United Kingdom was on target to reach its vaccination targets for vulnerable groups by Feb. 15.

11:41 AM

Everyone seems to have an opinion on quarantine hotels...

... this is what former England cricketer Kevin Pieterson has to say on the matter.

11:30 AM

Will cruise holidays make a comeback in 2021?

After a lost year, cruising is coming back, writes Dave Monk.

Most of the big lines were forced to write off the rest of 2020 after coronavirus struck but a brave few operators did dip their toe in the waters to resume some sailings – both at sea and on rivers.

This wasn’t much help to Britons, sadly, who were advised against ocean cruising by the Foreign Office, and faced closed borders and frequently changing quarantine restrictions when trying to travel abroad.

However, news of vaccines, and the implementation of strict health and safety measures on ships, means that 2021 is looking much brighter for large numbers to return to their favourite holidays afloat.

There is much anticipation regarding where we will see the meaningful return of cruising
There is much anticipation regarding where we will see the meaningful return of cruising

Some cruise lines are still only welcoming their domestic customers while others are cautious about the dates and details of their restart plans.

But, with hopes rising of a return to more normal service by the summer, where in the world will we soon be able to cruise?

Here's where our cruise expert Dave Monk thinks we'll be cruising in 2021.

11:20 AM

Ryanair forced to pull controversial 'Jab and Go' advert

Low-cost airline Ryanair has been forced to remove its controversial “jab and go” advertising campaign, after a ruling from the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

The airline called the ruling “baseless” and said it “disagrees” with the ASA’s ruling, although it said it will comply and retract the ads.

The carrier's Boxing Day promotion attracted thousands of complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority. In the adverts, the airline said: “Covid vaccines are coming so book your Easter and summer holidays today with Ryanair."

It added that with a number of destinations on offer, customers "could jab and go".

The pulled advert
The pulled advert

Those complaining about the advert claimed it was misleading to suggest that a vaccine will be rolled out across the population by spring and summer and that there will be no travel restrictions.

11:15 AM

Travel bubble between Australia and New Zealand suspended for 72 hours

The New Zealand/Australia travel bubble has been suspended for 72 hours, amid concerns around a single case of community transmission in New Zealand – feared to be the South African variant.

11:08 AM

Telegraph View: A travel ban would be a serious, possibly irrevocable, step for Britain

The UK death toll from Covid-19 may pass the 100,000 mark this week, a depressing milestone in the progress of the pandemic. As a proportion of the population this represents one of the worst fatality rates in the world.

This time a year ago the virus was confined to the Chinese city of Wuhan and its environs.

If there was a time to close the borders, it was then, and certainly once the pandemic had been declared by the World Health Organisation.

But it would have taken a government blessed with extraordinary foresight to have done so. In any case, the main vector for the disease appears to have been the many thousands of British tourists returning from Alpine ski resorts in February and March. Should they all have been quarantined at a time when there were few known cases?

With hindsight that might well have have made a difference to the spread of the contagion and it is evident that some ministers were proposing the closure of all borders at the time. But it was politically inconceivable. Moreover, once imposed such controls cannot be lifted. This is the dilemma facing ministers this week as they contemplate a raft of new measures principally designed to stop new variants of the virus entering the country.

The irony of the arrival of a vaccine is that the prospect of a return to normality appears to have receded rather than advanced, with schools now unlikely to reopen until after Easter. Without a vaccine the Government would have no choice but to contemplate scaling back restrictions once cases began to subside.

But ministers now fear that mutations will enter the country and render the various vaccines ineffective. Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary, disclosed yesterday that 77 cases of a virulent South African variant have been identified from travellers into the UK. A small number carrying a Brazilian mutation have also entered the country.

Clearly, stopping all travel not subject to strict quarantine regulations will reduce this risk. But the Government must also acknowledge that, as has been seen with Australia and New Zealand, these are not stopgap measures but semi-permanent controls. The logic of this policy is that for as long as mutations threaten to undermine the vaccine programme then normal travel to and from the UK will be impossible. For a country that relies so heavily on its international connections this is a serious, possibly irrevocable, step.

11:03 AM

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10:47 AM

The Government is threatening to consign holidays to history

We cannot keep ruining everyone's quality of life over a disease which is harmless to the vast majority of us, writes Oliver Smith.

"Now, it appears that the vaccine, far from unlocking our horizons, will actually tether us tighter to our shores. What was supposed to make things better, is – for travellers at least – actually being used to make things worse. To protect us against “unidentified new variants”, the Government is on the verge of announcing strict new border controls, with a mandatory hotel quarantine for all overseas arrivals (including returning holidaymakers) looking increasingly likely. "

Read his comment piece here.

10:35 AM

Cases are down across the UK

As the Government contemplates stricter border measures, three weeks into the third lockdown, let's take a look at how case and death numbers are looking in the UK.

New cases

Coronavirus UK Spotlight Chart - Cases default
Coronavirus UK Spotlight Chart - Cases default

New deaths

Coronavirus UK Spotlight Chart - deaths default
Coronavirus UK Spotlight Chart - deaths default

10:29 AM

A look back over the weekend

A look at what happened around the world over the weekend, in pictures.

Stonehenge got its first real snow of the year
Stonehenge got its first real snow of the year
Cadets of Tamilnadu Police perform an acrobatic stunt during a full dress rehearsal for the upcoming Republic Day Parade in Chennai
Cadets of Tamilnadu Police perform an acrobatic stunt during a full dress rehearsal for the upcoming Republic Day Parade in Chennai
isitors attend tours in a caged land vehicle to visit Ranch de Bandia Lion and Nature Park in Nguekhokhe, 70 kilometers away from Dhakar, Senegal
isitors attend tours in a caged land vehicle to visit Ranch de Bandia Lion and Nature Park in Nguekhokhe, 70 kilometers away from Dhakar, Senegal

10:20 AM

Wuhan one year on: The city that appears safe from coronavirus

One year after the Covid-19 pandemic erupted, The Telegraph's China Correspondent returns to Wuhan and asks whether all is really as it seems.

10:05 AM

Meet the 'extreme pandemic relocators'

Most of us spent last year staring at the same four walls, working from home and socialising locally – when lockdown restrictions allowed. We nested, driving a huge spike in renovations, home furnishings and landscaping, while travel plans were shelved.

Sophie Michell moved to Barbados with husband Eoin and son Oscar  - Getty
Sophie Michell moved to Barbados with husband Eoin and son Oscar - Getty

But there was a small tranche of the population who, faced with a pandemic, changed their lives dramatically, making the move of a lifetime.

This is how they got on.

09:53 AM

'This is completely insane'

Footage from Heathrow Airport shows packed queues in close proximity.

09:48 AM

UK’s leading ski operator cancels future holidays

Crystal Ski Holiday has cancelled all ski holidays until March 6 as the pandemic continues to force travellers to rearrange their upcoming plans.

Trips departing to all destinations, including Austria, France, Italy, Switzerland, Finland and Norway, have been called off up to and including March 5. The operator continues to make rolling decisions on whether to cancel trips, inline with Government guidance.

“We’re aware of recent announcements regarding restrictions to some of our destinations. We’ll be proactively contacting any customers whose holidays are impacted as soon as possible to discuss their options, prioritising those due to travel in the coming weeks. We are continuing to monitor the situation,” reads a statement. All customers are entitled to a full refund or are able to amend their trip to a future date, free of charge, as part of Crystal’s Holiday Promise.

This news is the final blow to February half term ski holidays, as Crystal is one of the last to confirm trips won’t run during this peak period. Hotelplan, which operates Inghams, Ski Total and Flexiski has already cancelled all trips until March, at the earliest.

High-altitude resorts in Val d'Isere remain open until the end of April
High-altitude resorts in Val d'Isere remain open until the end of April

This leaves roughly six remaining weeks of the ski season for operators to salvage any remaining trips. Some of Europe’s high-altitude resorts, such as Val Thorens, Tignes and Val d’Isere remain open until the end of April and some into May. But with lifts still shut in France, borders closed across Europe to Britons and travel banned under the UK’s own lockdown it’s looking increasingly unlikely that the majority British skiers will get their moment on the slope this winter.

09:43 AM

'Most Republicans shun masks'

Tom Lawrence sends a postcard from South Dakota, America's lockdown-free outlier.

South Dakota has continued to take an anti-lockdown stance to the pandemic - Getty
South Dakota has continued to take an anti-lockdown stance to the pandemic - Getty

09:30 AM

'Lockdowns and border closures have repeatedly failed – it's time we let them go'

"We modern humans have now spent the best part of a year operating under the conditions of a large-scale global experiment with a noble aim: to stamp out a virus that has become endemic," writes Annabel Fenwick Elliott.

"Thank goodness this particular plague isn’t very dangerous to the vast majority of the people it meets because the results are in, and they’re not good.

"No amount of shutting borders, banning flights, bankrupting businesses, cancelling surgeries, denying children a decent education or wrecking havoc on people's mental health has delivered us to the promised land of a Covid-free existence.

"In the UK, ten months on from our first three-week experimental lockdown, the one enacted to ‘protect’ our health system, we are a nation still under house arrest, a good deal poorer and more miserable, and the NHS is still, we are repeatedly warned, at ‘breaking point’."

So has it really all been worth it? Read Annabel's comment piece here.

09:22 AM

Britain faces three-month 'halfway house' lockdown after Easter as over-50s wait for second vaccine

Britain faces a three-month lockdown "halfway house" after Easter, with a full reopening delayed until all over-50s have had their second dose of the vaccine, The Telegraph understands.

Ministers are considering proposals to begin reopening swathes of the economy in April under similar restrictions to those in place over the summer, with “rule of six” and social distancing measures in force in pubs and restaurants.

Boris Johnson and ministers are considering plans to open the economy by mid-summer  - Reuters
Boris Johnson and ministers are considering plans to open the economy by mid-summer - Reuters

A return to full normality will be delayed for at least 12 to 14 weeks to allow for all over-50s to have their second dose of the vaccine, according to a source familiar with the discussions.

Ministers are keen to reopen hospitality venues in some capacity before the G7 summit in the second week of June, when the UK will host world leaders in Carbis Bay, Cornwall.

National measures will be eased in advance of the summit, allowing pubs, restaurants and tourism to begin to trade again.

09:20 AM

Airline shares tumble as tighter restrictions loom

The FTSE 100 and 250 both narrowly in the red, and it’s airlines that are proving the day’s worst performers amid concerns about new restrictions.

British Airways owner IAG is leading fallers on the FTSE 100, down about 7pc, while aerospace engineer Rolls-Royce has also fallen sharply.

On the FTSE 250, easyJet has dropped hardest, although TUI and Wizz Air are not far behind.

easyJet shares have dropped hardest - Getty
easyJet shares have dropped hardest - Getty

The UK is mulling tighter border controls, France is expected to enter a new lockdown in the coming days, and new US President Joe Biden will continue to restriction travel from much of Europe.

Follow all the updates on our Business Blog.

09:14 AM

How have other countries handled their border measures?

09:03 AM

Cabinet row as ministers consider plans to bus arrivals to hotels for quarantine

Travellers to the UK face being bussed from the airport to hotels around the country amid a Cabinet row over whether compulsory quarantine should be enforced at the border.

Boris Johnson is under pressure from ministers to toughen border controls to prevent new variants of coronavirus from reaching the UK.

On Sunday, Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary, revealed that authorities have already identified 77 cases of the South African variant in the UK, and have placed the patients under “very close” observation.

Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, and Mr Hancock are understood to be pushing for a mandatory quarantine in Government-approved accommodation for all arrivals.

But limited hotel capacity near major airports could mean passengers must be transported by bus to rooms elsewhere in the UK to wait out a 10-day quarantine period.

Read the full report here.