Travellers from red list countries must fly to designated airports to quarantine - or change flights

Friday, 12th February 2021, 2:05 pm
Updated Friday, 12th February 2021, 2:06 pm
Anyone scheduled to arrive at a different ‘port of entry’ must change their booking (Photo: Shutterstock)

Travellers returning from countries on the ‘red list’ can only arrive into one of five airports in England, the government has said.

Guidance states that anyone who is scheduled to arrive at a different ‘port of entry’ must change their booking to one of the airports specified from 15 February.

Where are the designated airports?

The five accepted points of entry into England are at the following airports:

  • Heathrow Airport
  • Gatwick Airport
  • London City Airport
  • Birmingham Airport
  • Farnborough Airfield

Travellers who are not due to arrive into any of the designated airports must change their booking to meet government requirements.

Rules states that other ports of entry “may be added in the future”, but for now anyone required to quarantine in a hotel who does not arrive at one of the designated airports “may face a penalty of up to £10,000 and will be charged for the cost of transportation” to the nearest designated entry point.

Mr Hancock confirmed in the Commons earlier this week that 16 hotels had been contracted to provide 4,600 rooms for the quarantine programme.

Those who are required to quarantine in a government-approved hotel after returning from a “red list” country will have to pay £1,750 to cover the cost of their stay.

The guidance states that it will cost £650 for a second adult or child aged over 12 to stay in the room, and a further £325 for a child aged between five and 12.

The costs, which the Department of Health said will be reviewed before the end of March and may change, cover transport to the hotel, food, accommodation, security, other essential services and testing.

People on income-related benefits have the option to apply for a deferred repayment plan when booking, which will require them to pay back the cost in 12 monthly instalments.

Travellers must take a Covid-19 test and have a negative result in the three days before travelling, and the quarantine package includes tests on the second and eighth day of hotel quarantine, except for children under five.

Leaving the hotel room for exercise during the isolation period will only be allowed with special permission from hotel staff or security, and is “not guaranteed”.

People can leave then leave isolation after getting a negative result on their day eight test and having quarantined for 10 full days.

Fines for non-compliance

Anyone who has not booked their hotel quarantine before arriving in England faces a penalty of up to £4,000 plus the costs of their quarantine.

The rules, which will take effect from 15 February, will also see travellers issued a fine of up to £10,000 if they fail to quarantine for the required period.

Anyone who attempts to conceal that they have been in one of the countries named on the ‘red list’ in the 10 days before arrival in the UK by lying on their passenger locator form will face up to 10 years in jail.

There are some exemptions to the mandatory hotel quarantine including government contractors, defence personnel and hauliers travelling from Portugal.

In Scotland, every person arriving from overseas, rather than specific countries, will be subject to a 10-day hotel quarantine.

Six hotels, near to Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow airports, have been block-booked to house travellers quarantining, with a combined total of up to 1,300 rooms available.

Technical difficulties

Travellers who will have to quarantine in hotels from 15 February remain unable to book a room just three days before the scheme comes into place.

The booking website suffered a “minor technical issue” shortly after it was launched and difficulties accessing the site have been reported since it went live on Thursday (11 February) afternoon.

People attempting to access the booking website receive a message which states: “We’ll be back soon! Sorry for the inconvenience but we’re performing some maintenance at the moment.”

A government spokesman assured that the portal will be open “well before” the hotel quarantine scheme comes into effect on Monday (15 February).