How will the new border controls work?

Tougher border controls have been announced in a bid to protect the UK against the spread of new coronavirus variants.

Here the PA news agency looks at how the policies will work:

What are quarantine hotels?

UK nationals and residents returning from one of 30 listed countries will be taken to a Government-approved hotel where they must self-isolate for 10 days.

Foreign nationals and non-UK residents from those destinations – which include South America, southern Africa and Portugal – are already banned from entering the UK.

How much will they cost?

The finances have not been announced but it could cost in excess of £1,000 per person.

Which hotels will be included?

This has not been confirmed but hotel chain Best Western said it was ready to “step in”.

When will the policy be introduced?

That has also not been announced.

The delay will allow people to return home without the additional hotel stay.

What is happening with enforcement of existing rules?

Home Secretary Priti Patel said there are “still too many people coming in and out of our country each day”.

There will be an increased police presence at ports and airports, fining those in breach of the stay-at-home regulations.

Coronavirus – Tue Jan 26, 2021
Coronavirus – Tue Jan 26, 2021

Will I have to give a valid reason to leave the UK?

Passengers will be required to declare their reason for travel, such as for business.

Operators are being told not to allow people to board if their trip is not essential.

Why are further border measures being launched?

Hotel quarantine has been proposed as a way to ensure people follow self-isolation rules relating to international travel, and guard against new variants of coronavirus entering the country.

Amid significant pressure on the NHS, there are concerns about the risks posed by strains identified in South Africa and Brazil.

What were the existing rules for arrivals to the UK?

All UK Travel Corridors suspended to protect against new COVID-19 variants.

From 4am Mon 18 Jan, all travellers to the UK (including British & Irish nationals) must:

✅Take a test in the 3 days before departure✅Self-isolate for 10 days


— Dept for Transport #StayHomeSaveLives (@transportgovuk) January 15, 2021

Direct flights to the UK from South Africa, Brazil and Portugal are suspended but British residents are permitted to return through indirect routes and then self-isolate at home.

More widely, anyone entering the country from abroad, including UK nationals returning home, must provide proof of a negative Covid-19 test result taken up to three days before departure.

Travellers must also self-isolate for 10 days upon arrival even if they tested negative.

In England, travellers may be able to end self-isolation early if they pay for a private coronavirus test.

HEALTH Coronavirus
HEALTH Coronavirus

How long would new quarantine hotels be in place for?

This is as yet unknown.

Conservative former health secretary Jeremy Hunt said measures should be about “buying us enough time”, adding: “We don’t know which countries these variants are arising in.”

Have other countries used hotel quarantines?

Yes. Australia became one of the first countries to introduce mandatory hotel quarantine in March, while the practice was also introduced in China, New Zealand, India, Singapore, the Philippines, Taiwan, Qatar and Thailand.

Writing on the Institute for Government website last week, Sarah Nickson, a senior researcher, said Australia’s two-week hotel quarantine rule for arrivals, and border closure to non-citizens, had “undoubtedly helped limit its case numbers and deaths”, with it seeing around 900 deaths attributed to Covid-19 with 28,000 confirmed cases.

New Zealand has also been hailed for its tough response at its border during the coronavirus pandemic, with it recording only 25 Covid-19 related deaths among 2,290 cases.