United Kingdom imposes hotel quarantine for travelers from Covid hotspots

Brenda Watkins
January 27, 2021

Announcing the news in the House of Commons today (27 January), Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: "We've already temporarily closed all travel corridors and we're already requiring anyone coming into this country to have proof of a negative Covid test taken in the 72 hours before leaving, they must also complete a passenger locator form which must be checked before they board and then quarantine on arrival for ten days.

I am deeply sorry for every life lost", he added.

Even Mr Johnson's most vocal critics have praised his Government's efforts to lead on rolling out inoculations against the virus, with ministers insisting they are on target to have offered a jab to nearly 14 million people in the four priority groups, which includes all those aged over 80, by mid-February.

Britain is the fifth country in the world to record 100,000 virus-related deaths, after the United States, Brazil, India and Mexico, and is by far the smallest in terms of population.

Britain has suffered a sharp rise in the number of infections and deaths in the new year, fuelled partly by a new more highly contagious variant of the virus first identified in southeast England.

"What I can tell you is that we truly did everything we could, and continue to do everything that we can, to minimize loss of life and to minimize suffering in what has been a very, very hard stage and a very, very hard crisis for our country", he said.

Johnson said at a televised news conference that he took "full responsibility for everything that the government has done".

The current lockdown rules, imposed to slow the spread of the new strain, were set for the first time in the southeast of England, and prohibit the British from traveling on holidays overseas, although necessary travel is permitted.

Coronavirus global cases surpass the 100 million mark
Petersburg with 1,813 cases, up from 1,510 the day before, and the Moscow Region with 928 new cases, down from 1,129 on Tuesday. Israel leads the world on per capita vaccinations, inoculating 29 percent of its population with at least one dose.

A total of 6,853,327 people have now received a first dose and 472,446 a second dose.

Boris Johnson said a final decision would depend on meeting vaccination targets and schools would get two weeks' notice. Several other countries such as Australia and Singapore introduced mandatory hotel quarantines in March 2020, nearly 10 months before the UK's decision.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer asked: "Why has the United Kingdom the highest number of deaths in Europe, why has the United Kingdom a death rate that is higher than nearly anywhere in the world?"

The PM, who is under pressure from Tory MPs to spell out how the current lockdown will end, said relaxing restrictions would depend on emerging data about how effectively the vaccine stops virus transmission.

"I suspect there will be things that people will say we did extremely well at, and there'll be things that people will say we should have done differently".

UK Home Secretary Priti Patel later announced that people wishing to travel out of the UK will have to first make a declaration proving that their journey is essential.

A travel industry source told the PA news agency that the list of destinations this will apply to includes all of South America, southern Africa and Portugal.

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