After having been delayed for nearly three weeks, the government's attempt at halting the spread of the virus by imposing the hotel quarantine scheme will finally be imposed as of February 15.
Very strict isolation
33 countries have been put on what is being called the 'red list' and travellers coming form these COVID-19 hot spots will be obliged to self isolate in a government-approved facility. Travellers will have to pay from their own pockets and fees are estimated to cost around £1,000 per person.
Taxpayer money will initially cover the bills but credit card details will be taken down so reimbursement can be guaranteed. The hotels will be monitored by government-approved security staff on every floor to ensure people do not leave rooms.
Meals and beverages will be delivered at doors and smokers will be escorted outside. Those quarantined will also have to be the ones to change their own sheets and clean out their own bathrooms as no guests or hotel staff will be allowed to enter their rooms.
Necessary to clamp down on the spread of the virus
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said that these severe measures are necessary in order to dissuade people from traveling and further spreading the virus:
In the face of new variants, it is important that the government continues to take the necessary steps to protect people and save lives. It is currently illegal to go on holiday, and passengers travelling to the UK must provide proof of a negative test before they travel, and self-isolate on arrival.
With increased police presence at airports and more physical checks at addresses to make sure people are self-isolating, we are taking decisive action.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson reminded the general public of the current situation regarding holiday plans by saying that:
I want to make clear under the stay at home regulations it is illegal to leave home to travel abroad for leisure purposes and we will enforce this at ports and airports by asking people why they are leaving and instructing them to return home to if they do not have a valid reason.