Hotel quarantine brought in for 22 Covid hotspot countries, Boris Johnson says

27 January 2021, 13:35 | Updated: 27 January 2021, 15:38

By Kate Buck

The Government has announced a series of new border measures, including having to declare their reasons for travel and a 10-day hotel quarantine upon arrival.

The Prime Minister said those coming from 22 Covid hotspot countries who cannot be refused entry to the UK would be quarantined "without exception", and would be escorted from the airport to the facilities.

Home Secretary Priti Patel also announced that people travelling abroad will now need to declare their reason for leaving the country - or face being turned away by police at the airport.

Boris Johnson told the Commons: "I want to make clear that under the stay at home regulations, it is illegal to leave home to travel abroad for leisure purposes and we 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.

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"We have also banned all travel from 22 countries where there is a risk of known variants including South Africa, Portugal and South American nations.

"And in order to reduce the risk posed by UK nationals and residents returning home from these countries, I can announce that we will require all such arrivals who cannot be refused entry to isolate in Government provided accommodation, such as hotels, for 10 days without exception.

The Prime Minister said those coming from those countries who cannot be refused entry to the UK would be quarantined "without exception",  and would be escorted from the airport to the facilities
The Prime Minister said those coming from those countries who cannot be refused entry to the UK would be quarantined "without exception", and would be escorted from the airport to the facilities. Picture: PA

"They will be met at the airport and transported directly into quarantine. The Department of Health and Social Care is working to establish these facilities as quickly as possible."

The UK has previously published a list of banned travel from countries which are feared to be infected with Covid-19 variants.

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Speaking in the Commons shortly after the Prime Minister, Ms Patel said a number of measures have been implemented to reduce the risk of people coming from abroad.

These include more police home checks on people who are supposed to be remaining at home. They will also continue to deny entry to people from red list countries who are not.

A new measure being brought it will require people who are travelling abroad to declare why they are travelling before their journey, to ensure only those making essential journeys are permitted to travel.

She added "going on holiday is not a valid reason" to ignore the stay-at-home rules.

She told the Commons: "For those travelling out of the UK we will also be enhancing and stepping up enforcement rules.

"Because despite the stay-at-home regulations we are still seeing people not complying with these rules. The rules are clear, people should be staying at home unless they have a valid reason to leave.

"Going on holiday is not a valid reason, so we will introduce a new requirement so that people wishing to travel must first make a declaration as to why they need to travel.

"This reason for travel will be checked by carriers prior to departure and this approach effectively mirrors the checks on arrivals that are already in place with the passenger locator form."

Mr Johnson will also be holding a Downing Street press conference later this afternoon.

Anyone who is not a UK citizen or resident is currently banned from travelling into the country if they have been in the following nations in any of the past 10 days.

Angola
Argentina
Bolivia
Botswana
Brazil
Cape Verde
Chile
Colombia
Democratic Republic of Congo
Ecuador
Eswatini
French Guiana
Guyana
Lesotho
Malawi
Mauritius
Mozambique
Namibia
Panama
Paraguay
Peru
Portugal (including Madeira and the Azores)
Seychelles
South Africa
Suriname
Tanzania
Uruguay
Venezuela
Zambia
Zimbabwe

It is not yet clear which nations will be included in the mandatory hotel quarantine.

More to follow...