from the Guardian live blog
, more news from a year ago which is only just popping up now for some reason, Matt Hancock says:
We’re setting up a new system of hotel quarantine for UK and Irish residents who’ve been in red list countries in the last 10 days. In short, this means that any returning residents from these countries will have to quarantine in an assigned hotel room for 10 days from the time of arrival.
Before they travel, they’ll have to book through an online platform and pay for a quarantine package costing £1,750 for an individual travelling alone, which includes the hotel, transport and testing. This booking system will go live on Thursday when we’ll also publish the full detailed guidance.
Passengers will only be able to enter the UK through a small number of ports that currently account for the vast majority of passenger arrivals. When they arrive, they’ll be escorted to a designated hotel which will be closed to guests who aren’t quarantining, for 10 days or for longer if they test positive for Covid-19 during their stay.
We’ve contracted 16 hotels for an initial 4,600 rooms and we will secure more as they are needed. People will need to remain in their rooms and of course will not be allowed to mix with other guests and there will be visible security in place to ensure compliance alongside necessary support, so even as we protect public health we can look after the people in our care.
We’re strengthening testing. All passengers are already required to take a pre-departure test and cannot travel to this country if [the test] is positive.
From Monday, all international arrivals, whether under home quarantine or hotel quarantine, will be required by law to take further PCR tests on day two and day eight of that quarantine.
Passengers will have to book these tests through our online booking portal before they travel. Anyone planning to travel to the UK from Monday needs to book these tests and the online portal will go live on Thursday.
If either of these post-arrival tests comes back positive, they’ll have to quarantine for a further 10 days from the date of the test and will of course be offered any NHS treatment that’s necessary.
Any positive test will automatically undergo genomic sequencing to confirm whether they have a variant of concern.
People who flout these rules are putting us all at risk.
Passenger carriers will have a duty in law to make sure that passengers have signed up for these new arrangements before they travel, and will be fined if they don’t, and we will be putting in place tough fines for people who don’t comply.
This includes a £1,000 penalty for any international arrival who fails to take a mandatory test, a £2,000 penalty for any international arrival who fails to take the second mandatory test, as well as automatically extending their quarantine period to 14 days, and a £5,000 fixed penalty notice - rising to £10,000 - for arrivals who fail to quarantine in a designated hotel.
Anyone who lies on the passenger locator form and tries to conceal that they’ve been in a country on the red list in the 10 days before arrival here will face a prison sentence of up to 10 years.
I make no apologies for the strength of these measures because we’re dealing with one of the strongest threats to our public health that we’ve faced as a nation.