The UK’s quarantine hotels are ready to begin welcoming guests, but there are worries that the rules are not strict enough.
An analysis from the BBC found that rules in British quarantine hotels seem to be more relaxed than those in other countries.
Guests in British hotels will be allowed time outdoors with the presence of security staff. However, in Australia, this is seen as a risk for hotel staff.
Australian quarantine hotels also have structured meal delivery times. This is to prevent guests from cross-infecting as they retrieve their meals. No measure like this has been introduced in British quarantine hotels.
From the 15 February, arrivals in the UK from “red list” countries will be subject to quarantine in a hotel for 10 days.
Hotel guests are expected to pay for the full expense of their stay. The cost currently stands at £1,750 for each individual, including meals, transfer from the airport, and coronavirus tests.
Guests will also need to take a PCR COVID-19 test on the second and eighth day of their stay.
These tougher measures come as concerns grow over new variants of the coronavirus found abroad. Travel from red list countries is completely banned for all except British and Irish citizens and UK residents.
There are currently 33 countries on the red list including Portugal, Brazil, the UAE and South Africa, but the government has said they can add new countries to the list with just a few hours notice.
Most of the countries that currently make up the list are African and South American.
More severe consequences have also been outlined for travellers who attempt to break the rules.
Individuals who try to avoid the hotel quarantine could face a fine of up to £10,000. Travellers who lie about their travel history on their passenger locator form could face up to 10 years in prison.
Some members of parliament have criticised the severity of this punishment. Conservative MP Charles Walker said the announcement from health secretary Matt Hancock was “a really stupid thing to say.”
Quarantine hotel measures currently only apply in England, but Wales and Northern Ireland are expected to implement similar rules in the coming weeks.
In Scotland, however, all international travellers will need to quarantine in a hotel.