Jan. 28, 2021 -- To reduce international travel, the United Kingdom announced Wednesday that British citizens flying home from 22 COVID-19 hotspots must quarantine in hotels at their own expense for 10 days.

“There are still too many people coming in and out of our country each day,” Priti Patel, the home secretary, said in a news release. “The rules are clear - people should be staying at home unless they have a valid reason to leave. Going on holiday is not a valid reason.”

British residents and citizens who fly into the UK will be taken straight from the airport to government-approved hotels to begin a mandatory 10-day stay. Police will do more checking to make sure people are self-isolating, the news release said.

The new restrictions come as the UK grapples with a surge in cases and the emergence of a highly transmissible homegrown COVID variant. The UK recently passed the 100,000 mark in coronavirus-related deaths.

The “red list” has not been announced but is expected to include South Africa, Portugal, and Latin American nations. Residents of those nations are, for the most part, already restricted from traveling into the UK.

British authorities will also start questioning British citizens about why they want to travel abroad.

"I want to make clear that 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 if they do not have a valid reason to travel," Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Wednesday, according to CNN.

More police will be stationed at airports and ports and people violating stay-at-home regulations will be fined, the news release said. More nations could be added to the “red list.”

Last week the UK announced that all incoming travelers must provide evidence of a negative COVID test taken within the last 72 hours.

Show Sources

UK. “Tougher border controls to protect public health”

CNN. “UK imposes hotel quarantine for travelers from Covid hotspots”

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