What are the new rules for testing and hotel quarantine?

What are the new rules for testing and hotel quarantine?

People arriving in the UK now have to take two coronavirus tests while quarantining, while some must pay to self-isolate at a hotel.

It’s one of a growing number of rules aimed at stopping the spread of new, potentially more resistant Covid strains from other countries.

Rule-breakers face stricter penalties, including a prison sentence of up to 10 years for those who lie about having been in a banned “red list” country, such as Portugal.

All incoming passengers have to fill in a passenger locator form before they arrive, listing their contact details, departure country and their UK address.

They also have to show proof of a negative Covid-19 test to be allowed entry. It must have been taken in the 72 hours before travelling, with Border Force officials carrying out spot checks.

Travellers must then self-isolate for 10 days.

Arrivals now also have to take a coronavirus test on days two and eight of quarantine, at a cost of £210. If they test positive, they must self-isolate for a further 10 days.

There will be a £1,000 fine for any international arrival who fails to take a mandatory coronavirus test. This will be followed by a £2,000 fine for failing to take a second test, with quarantine automatically extended to 14 days.

Airlines can also be fined £2,000 for passengers arriving without a completed form and advance negative test.

The government says this will provide a “further level of protection”, enabling authorities to track new cases more effectively.

A small number of workers are exempt from quarantine, including pilots and some seasonal agricultural workers.

Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have their own travel rules, which differ slightly.

The “test to release” scheme will continue.

This allows travellers from countries not on the red list to take a test on day five of isolation.

Tests cost between £65 and £120, and results are normally received in 24 to 48 hours.

People who test negative can stop isolating. Those who test positive must quarantine for 10 more days after the test.

Anyone using the scheme will still have to take a further test on the eighth day.

Travellers who have been in 33 red-list countries in the 10 days before travelling are already banned from entry.

UK residents and Irish nationals arriving in England from these countries will have to quarantine in hotels selected by the government.

People entering Scotland from any country by air will have to isolate in hotels.

These travellers can only enter the UK at five airports:

In England, this will cost £1,750 per passenger travelling alone, to cover transport, tests, food and accommodation.

Every additional adult, or child over 12, costs £650, while children aged five to 12 cost £325.

Accommodation must be booked in advance through an online booking system, but it is not possible to choose your hotel.

Those who arrive without an advance booking can be fined £4,000, and still have to pay to quarantine.

Heathrow Airport has warned that “red list” travellers may face suspended flights and long queues at the border.

Arrivals will be escorted straight to their hotel and must stay in their rooms for 10 nights, with security guards accompanying them if they go outside. Households will be allowed to quarantine together, and some hotels may allow them to exercise.

Those who fail to quarantine in a designated hotel face fines of £5,000 to £10,000. Anyone who lies on their passenger locator form about having been in a country on the red list will face a prison sentence of up to 10 years.

Hauliers travelling from Portugal can travel to England. They are exempt from hotel quarantine and do not have to present a negative test.

The red list consists mainly of countries in South America and Africa.

One European country – Portugal – is included because of its links to Brazil. The United Arab Emirates is also on the list.

Some travellers, including children under 11 and passengers from the Common Travel Area (the Republic of Ireland, Channel Islands, or the Isle of Man) are exempt.

Lockdown rules mean people must only travel abroad for essential reasons. These are the same as the “reasonable excuses” for domestic travel, including:

People leaving England will soon have to make a declaration on why they need to travel, which will be checked by carriers prior to departure.

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