Quarantine hotel users in England face £1,200 bill for positive Covid test

Workers carry luggage of passengers to a Holiday Inn hotel near Heathrow airport on Tuesday after new quarantine measures were brought in
Workers carry luggage of passengers to a Holiday Inn hotel near Heathrow airport on Tuesday after new quarantine measures were brought in.

Red list’ arrivals will run up charges to extend stay if they test positive, on top of £1,750 initial fee

Travellers in quarantine hotels in England face an additional bill of up to £1,200 if they test positive for coronavirus during their stay, the government has revealed.

British and Irish nationals or UK residents who have been in so-called red list countries in the previous 10 days are required to book a 10-day quarantine package costing £1,750 per adult, as the government seeks to limit the spread of new and potentially more dangerous coronavirus variants arriving from abroad.

Information published on the government’s website on Monday revealed the additional cost to the traveller if they test positive: £152 a day.

Guests are allowed to leave after 11 nights if they receive negative results from tests taken on day two and day eight of their isolation.

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.

The prime minister, Boris Johnson, was asked at a Downing Street press conference on Monday what would happen if a traveller cannot afford the extra fee.

He replied: “It is currently illegal to travel abroad for holidays anyway. We would expect people who are coming in from one of these red list countries to be able to cover their costs.”

There are 33 countries on the government’s “red list”, which includes Portugal, the United Arab Emirates, South America and southern Africa.

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.

Border staff received guidelines on how to implement England’s new “red list” quarantine rules in an email just hours before they came into force in a rollout that one worker described as “an absolute joke”.

Border Force sources told the Guardian that all immigration control staff had received a lengthy email with five attachments, detailing official guidance for carrying out the new checks at the border, at 9.25pm on Sunday.

There are five airports in England at which red list arrivals can land, with the vast majority coming to London Heathrow. Gatwick, Birmingham and London City airports have all said the numbers are likely to be low. Farnborough in Hampshire is also taking arrivals on private jets used for business travel.

Officials have secured 4,963 rooms at 16 hotels, with more than 50,000 extra rooms on standby amid uncertainty about the number of arrivals from red list countries.

source: Jamie Grierson