Eddie Mair 4pm - 7pm
Spain and USA could be next countries on quarantine 'red list'
18 February 2021, 11:40 | Updated: 18 February 2021, 16:41
Spain and the US could be the next countries added to the 'red list' of countries requiring passengers to quarantine in hotels, it has been reported.
Officials are thought to be considering further additions to the 'red list' of countries where travellers must isolate for ten days upon arrival in the UK. There are currently 33 'Covid hotspot' countries on the list.
Reports state that officials are considering expanding the list of countries on the list in a bid to prevent the spread of new variants into the UK.
Cabinet members will assess the threat posed by new variants at the Cabinet Covid Operations Committee this week, where they will decide which countries should go on the list.
Both Spain and the US have had local transmission of new variants and are geographically linked to places on the 'red list'.
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said: “If more countries are added to the ‘red list’, and passenger numbers from ‘red list’ countries start to increase, then we are prepared to put in place managed quarantine facilities at the required airports.
"We are monitoring the situation closely, and have extensive contingency plans dependent on the changing situation.”
Shadow Home Secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds told LBC: "We do need that comprehensive strategy of hotel quarantine in place for arrivals from all countries. By doing it in this piecemeal way the government is leaving this gaping hole in our defences against additional strains of the virus entering the country.
"The way to do this is be ahead of the curve, not behind it.
"I wasn’t surprised [to see Spain and the USA could be added] and I do think the government could and should have anticipated this.
"I’m afraid this method of acting too late has been, unfortunately, too much a feature of the way the government has acted throughout.
"All policies have to be kept under review and you’d expect any government to be doing that, but that is no excuse and no substitute for having acted decisively and comprehensively in the first place, which is what the government should have done."
It comes after the news on Tuesday that travellers in quarantine hotels face an additional £1,200 bill if they test positive for coronavirus during their stay, it has emerged.
Information about the £152 daily cost of longer stays was only published on the Government's website on Monday, after some guests had already checked in.
From 4am on Monday, travellers arriving in England must quarantine in a hotel if they have been in a country at high risk of coronavirus variants in the previous 10 days.
Scotland is extending the requirement to cover arrivals from any country unless they have travelled from the Common Travel Area (CTA), which includes the UK and Ireland.
A positive result from the first test will extend a traveller's stay by two nights at a cost of £304.
If the second test returns a positive reading, the guest must remain in their room for an additional eight nights and pay £1,216.