Foreign holidays could be off the cards until 2022, as the Government considers a hotel quarantine policy for all passengers travelling into the UK, in an effort to prevent new Covid variants from spreading.
The hotel quarantine policy would be similar to those already implemented in Australia and New Zealand, and could cost travellers up to £1,500 for a 10 day long stay in self-isolation.
Anyone told to quarantine would stay in a hotel for 10 days, with meals brought to their rooms and private security on-site to make sure they remain in quarantine for the duration.
Restrictions in Australia are expected to last until next year, and some industry experts have said that, if the policy is aimed at keeping out new variants, it will likely need to be in place throughout summer
Speaking to the Telegraph, chief executive of the travel consultancy, the PC Agency, said: “Boris Johnson needs to set an end date otherwise the restrictions could easily be in place until Easter next year. You only have to look at Australia, with its restrictions expected to remain into next year.”
When will this be decided?
The Government’s ‘Covid-O’ committee will meet today (26 Jan) to discuss the new borders policy, with an announcement expected later in the day or early this evening.
A less strict version of the policy is also said to be on the table, which would see only those arriving from countries with high coronavirus infection rates forced to quarantine in hotels.
This would mean that people travelling from South America, Portugal and South Africa would be the top priority for self-isolation at the moment, although new variants are likely to emerge.
Will we be able to take foreign holidays this year?
Speaking to Sky News, vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi said that “we need to be very careful” of new variants, and that this becomes “more important” because of the vaccination programme.
Asked whether people in the UK could start looking at summer holidays this year, Mr Zahawi said, “It’s far too early”.
He added: “There are currently 37,000 people in hospital with Covid. It is far too early to think about summer.”