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Published on Monday, January 25, 2021

Enforced hotel quarantines likely to be introduced

The UK's tourism industry will only recover when quarantines are abolished says the head of UKInbound, ahead of plans by the Government to introduce tougher UK border restrictions and enforced hotel quarantines.

It's not understood whether all travellers will be forced to quarantine or whether it will just be those returning from high-risk countries, but the new restrictions to be discussed at a meeting of the Government's Covid operations committee tomorrow will be a huge blow to the travel industry and consumer confidence at a time when operators were starting to report strong demand for summer bookings.

Joss Croft, CEO, UKinbound said: "Public health and safety must always be paramount. If the Government implements any further border restrictions it needs to consider the implications for the inbound tourism industry and provide targeted support for businesses, and put in place a clear roadmap to reopening the sector, when it's safe to do so.

"Only when quarantine is abolished will the tourism industry be able to begin its full recovery, but we need more support to ensure businesses survive to play their role and that the UK does not lose out to its competitors."

Government ministers are understood to be looking at a number of restriction measures to stop the spread of new variants of the virus - in particular the South African Covid variant - and interfere with the effectiveness of vaccines.

The most likely outcome is a version of the enforced isolation system used by countries including Australia and New Zealand.

Health secretary Matt Hancock, speaking on the BBC's Andrew Marr programme on Sunday said: "International travel right now should not be happening unless it's absolutely necessary.

"No parties in Paris or weekends in Dubai, that is not on, and in most cases, it's against the law. And so international travel should not be happening unless it's absolutely necessary, for instance for a medical emergency, although frankly with the NHS we have the best medical services you could possibly have in the world right here in Britain."

"We are being very cautious, we don't rule out further measures, but I'm not going to go into details on that. We are making sure we have the right rules in place to keep this country safe."

And on Friday a video circulating on social media showed Health Secretary Matt Hancock saying the 'price' for domestic protection was the closure of international borders.

While suggesting there was 'a chance' of international travel resuming for the summer, he warned the emergence of new Covid variants was creating complications.

Should a variant be able to evade vaccinations and enter the UK, the country will be 'back to square one', he said.

The Covid operations committee will consider options including closure of the borders, quarantine hotels where travellers would have to pay a share of the costs and forcing people to self-isolate for 10 days and scrapping the chance to test and release and day five.

It's believed the Government is already in talks with hotel groups Marriott and IHG to house quarantining travellers.

Concerns over border restrictions and poor social distancing were fuelled by huge crowds spotted at Heathrow Airport on Saturday.

Sharing a picture of the crowds on Twitter, former British ambassador to Turkey, France and the US Peter Westmacott wrote: "T2 Heathrow Friday afternoon. No ventilation. Long delays. Superspreading."

by Louise Longman, Contributing Editor (UK)



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  • One big problem with Hotel Quarantine

    As New Zealand has found to its cost , One is more likely to contract C-19 in a Quarantine hotel unless it forbids ALL human contact. Not likely that proper anti covid measures to avoid transmission would be carried out effectively by any hotel group

    By BARRY KEATING, Monday, January 25, 2021

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