Travel and hotel quarantine - what are the new rules?

Passengers going through UK Border at Terminal 2 of Heathrow Airport. Photo: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

Passengers going through UK Border at Terminal 2 of Heathrow Airport. Photo: Steve Parsons/PA Wire - Credit: PA

New rules for people arriving in England who have either visited or passed through "red list" countries have been revealed. 

From Monday, February 15, people arriving in England having been in one of the more than 30 banned nations must quarantine in a hotel for 11 nights.

Following the initial announcement of the plan, the government has now published more detailed specifics of it on its website. Here is what you need to know:

How much will it cost?

The quarantine package, which includes the cost of travel, food and testing is as follows:

For one adult, in one room for 11 nights: £1,750

Additional rate per adult: £650

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​​​​​​Additional rate per child aged five-12: £325

These prices will be reviewed before the end of mark and children aged four and under will not be charged.

Those on income-related benefits are able to reply for a deferred payment scheme, but those who fail to pay can face penalties of up to £4,000.

Where can I arrive and who is able to travel?

People returning from the "red list" countries are only permitted to enter the country at one of five airports.

Only British or Irish nationals or people with residence rights in the United Kingdom are permitted to come into England from these countries. 

These are:

  • Heathrow
  • Gatwick
  • London City
  • Birmingham
  • Farnborough

Which countries are on the "red list"

As it stands, the "red list" is as follows:

  • Angola
  • Argentina
  • Bolivia
  • Botswana
  • Brazil
  • Burundi
  • Cape Verde
  • Chile
  • Colombia
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Ecuador
  • Eswatini
  • French Guiana
  • Guyana
  • Lesotho
  • Malawi
  • Mauritius
  • Mozambique
  • Namibia
  • Panama
  • Paraguay
  • Peru
  • Portugal (including Madeira and the Azores)
  • Rwanda
  • Seychelles
  • South Africa
  • Suriname
  • Tanzania
  • United Arab Emirates
  • Uruguay
  • Venezuela
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe

What will happen while I am in quarantine?

Once you arrive at your hotel, you will be required to stay there for 11 nights, with the hotel providing all of your meals.

However, there are a number of circumstances under which you can leave. These are as follows:

  • To travel directly to leave the common travel area
  • To fulfil a legal obligation
  • To exercise - but only with special permission from hotel staff or securities
  • Under exceptional circumstances, such as escaping risk of harm or for medical attention

What testing will be done?

An initial Covid-19 test will need to be done before or on the second day of your quarantine. A positive test result will mean you need to stay quarantined until day 12.

If you test negative on day two, you will then have to be tested again on day eight.

Children under five will not need to be tested.

What about if I haven't been through a "red list" country?

While hotel quarantine is not required, those who return from any other nation must also go through a period of self-isolation.

Anybody who has been outside of the country must do the following upon their return:

  • Quarantine for 10 days
  • Take a Covid-19 test on the second and eighth day of your quarantine
  • Follow all national lockdown rules 

What penalties are there?

Anybody found to be breaching the terms of their quarantine, or lying about where they have been, can be fined up to £10,000.