Travellers blast plans to force all arrivals to quarantine at hotels

Travellers blast plans to force all arrivals to quarantine at hotels

‘It’s just another mess’: Heathrow travellers blast plans to force all UK arrivals to quarantine at hotels for 10 days as they STILL face hour-long queues at border control to show negative Covid test paperwork

  • Scheme being considered by ministers means arrivals would quarantine in hotel
  • It could also see GPS tags introduced to ensure compliance during the 10 days
  • But both British residents and visitors say the scheme would be too costly
  • Arrivals would potentially have to pay for their stays while they self-isolate

Passengers arriving at Britain’s airports have blasted plans to force all UK arrivals to quarantine at hotels for ten days after they land.

The draconian scheme would ban travellers from using their own accommodation to isolate for 10 days – and could see GPS tags introduced to ensure compliance. 

The ‘quarantine hotel’ system, similar to that used in Australia and New Zealand, is being considered by ministers amid rising fears about the spread of Covid variants around the globe.

But both British residents and visitors say the scheme would be too costly and would put them off from going overseas. 

Arrivals could have to pay for their stays while they self-isolate for 10 days, or even a fortnight. 

There are reports today that negotiations are already taking place with hotel chains, while London Mayor Sadiq Khan said he was in favour. 

Any new restrictions would be a further blow to the beleaguered travel industry and put the holiday plans of millions at risk.  


Troy (pictured left with his travel companion Olivia), from Essex, hit out the plans which could be announced as early as next week. Leanne and Paul Martin (right), returning from Barbados, said having to stay at an airport hotel for up to 10 days would be hugely inconvenient


Prakash Chandra, 30, (left) a British resident who arrived from Delhi, said having to stay in a hotel for 10 days would put him off from flying. Marni Krebbs (right), a US citizen who lives in London, said: ‘It is really a bit like shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted’

Arrivals (pictured in Heathrow, today) would potentially have to pay for their stays while they self-isolate for 10 days, or even a fortnight

It comes as Britain’s airports are already struggling to cope with demand, with passengers queuing for hours yesterday to get through passport control at Heathrow as the border situation worsened.

The lines were so long staff were said to have handed out free water to exhausted travellers just hours after the Home Office insisted there were no staffing issues and people were moving through in ‘good time’. 

Leanne and Paul Martin, returning from Barbados, said having to stay at an airport hotel for up to 10 days would be hugely inconvenient.

‘It would make more sense if we could go and stay at our home,’ said Ms Martin from Daventry, West Midlands.

‘I understand the need to control the borders and they are trying to do it like Australia, but it is a little bit too late really.

‘The borders should have closed months ago.’ 

Troy, from Essex, hit out the plans which could be announced as early as next week.


Joseph Lavy (right) said having to stay 10 days in a hotel after arriving in the UK would play havoc with his job. Leanne Thomas (left), who arrived from the US capital Washington DC, said:’ Why would I want to stay in a hotel when I’ve got my own flat’

Amid growing doubts over the summer holiday season, the Cabinet’s Covid operations committee will thrash out how to tighten border controls. Passengers are pictured queuing at  Heathrow Airport on Thursday

He said: ‘Who is going to pay for my stay in a hotel. I could just go home and self isolate.

‘I’ve been in Barbados where everyone is given a red wristband that shows they have to self isolate. Why not do that here.

‘If the Government are that worried they should just close down the airports completely. It is just another mess.’

Marni Krebbs, a US citizen who lives in London, said: ‘It is really a bit like shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted.

‘Why are they suddenly wanting to do this now. It does not make sense, and who will pay for the hotel stay.’

Joseph Lavy said having to stay 10 days in a hotel after arriving in the UK would play havoc with his job.


Meanwhile in Manchester Airport, passenger Abbas Jaffry, 44, (left) blasted the quarantine scheme. Preben Kodbol, 63, had just landed from Denmark before travelling to Immingham. Lincs. He said: ‘It is a terrible idea. It would certainly stop people coming to Britain’

Arriving on a flight from Geneva, Mr Lavy – who is travelling to Dover to take up a new job with a logistics firm – said he disproved of the scheme, particularly if he had to pay for his enforced stay.

He said: ‘I can see they are trying to copy Australia, but if you have somewhere to stay why be put into a hotel.

‘I would not want to pay for the stay when I have a perfectly good place to stay.’

A British businessman arriving from Washington DC at Terminal 5 said he would not have made the trip if it meant having to self-isolate.

‘I am only here for three weeks, and there would be no point coming if I had to stay for 10 days in a hotel, said the businessman who asked not to be named.

‘I am here to work and would lose half of my time. I think most people coming over on business would feel the same.

The businessman, who lives in the US capital added:’ I can’t see many people who would bother to come over if they are faced with a big hotel bill. There are not that many tourists so its returning residents or people here on business.’


Some arrivals said introducing mandatory hotel quarantine would be a good thing. Maria Rizwan, 36, (left) of Bolton, Greater Manchester said: ‘We need to do what we can to stop Covid-19 so we can finally get back to normal.’ Scientist Amber Davies, 24, (right) said: ‘I am all in favour of it. We need to do everything we can to stop the spread of the virus’

Leanne Thomas, who also arrived from the US capital Washington DC, said:’ Why would I want to stay in a hotel when I’ve got my own flat’

Her views were shared by a member of the US Air Force returning to his base in Lakenheath, Suffolk.

‘I’ve got somewhere to stay so it’s a not for me.,’ said the serviceman who declined to be named.

‘I live here and have my own place. I understand the need to self-isolate, and if you have somewhere to go them that should be ok.’

Another British resident, returning from Geneva at Terminal 5, said:’ I can see why visitors might have to go into a hotel, but surely it does not make sense if you have a place here in the UK.

‘I think many people would baulk at having to pay for a stay.’

Both British residents and visitors say a hotel quarantine  scheme would be too costly and would put them off from going overseas. Pictured: Heathrow Airport Terminal 5 today

Meanwhile in Manchester Airport, passenger Abbas Jaffry, 44, blasted the quarantine scheme.

Mr Jaffry – who had flown in from his home in Barcelona to see relatives in Bolton, Greater Manchester – said: ‘It’s a bad, crazy idea.

‘This would put me off travellers. It would make me stay in Spain and not come here. It needs a rethink.

‘I am happy to self-isolate but not in a hotel cut off from everything and everyone. It needs a rethink.’ 

Aisha Zeeshan, 24, of Birmingham had come to the airport to fly to Islamabad, Pakistan.

She said: ‘I used to work for track and trace so I know that most people follow the rules and self-isolate.

There are reports today that negotiations are already taking place with hotel chains, while London Mayor Sadiq Khan said he was in favour. Pictured: Heathrow Airport Terminal 5 today

‘There is no need to make people stay in hotels whether they have to pay for it or not. It would stop people travelling so is a bad idea.

‘We should trust people more to do the right thing,’

Preben Kodbol, 63, had just landed from Denmark before travelling to Immingham. Lincs.

He said: ‘It is a terrible idea. It would certainly stop people coming to Britain.

‘We need to stop the virus but people need to get on with their jobs and livelihoods.’

Glass operator Jedd Obens, 40, who had just landed at Terminal 1 from Amsterdam, said: ‘It’s a mad idea.


Huge queues prompted anger from passengers and questions over the number of staff at work

‘I live alone so why would I need to go to a hotel.

‘It would stop people going abroad or travelling when we need to encourage business.’ 

Some arrivals said introducing mandatory hotel quarantine would be a good thing. 

Louie Carpino, 31, had just returned from a trip from Denmark for his bio-gas business to come home to his family in Heswall on the Wirral.

The father-of-two said: ‘I guess it’s not such a crazy idea. If that what it takes to stop the spread of the disease then it would be a good idea.

‘I would stay in a hotel if that’s what is needed. I’d rather not pay for it mind.’ 

Scientist Amber Davies, 24, of Liverpool had come to the airport to pick up her boyfriend from a flight from the Caribbean.

She said: ‘I am all in favour of it.  We need to do everything we can to stop the spread of the virus.

‘If people are willing to travel or go on holiday then they should take the responsibility to stay in a hotel to properly self-isolate. We would do it if necessary.’  

Maria Rizwan, 36, of Bolton, Greater Manchester was just waiting to catch a flight to Pakistan with her family.

The mother-of-two joked: ‘If the government want to pay for me to stay in a hotel then I’d be all in favour.

‘It would like having another holiday.’ 

She added: ‘We need to do what we can to stop Covid-19 so we can finally get back to normal.

 ‘If that means staying in a hotel, then so be it.’ 

Passengers arriving at Heathrow’s Terminal Two faced queues of up to an hour to clear passport control where Border Force agents checked each arrival was in possession of a negative PCR test. 

They also had to show a completed locator form with an address where they would self-isolate for the required 10 days.

The documentation was previously checked by airlines before boarding overnight flights to the UK.

Prakash Chandra, 30, a British resident who arrived from Delhi, said having to stay in a hotel for 10 days would put him off from flying.

How would ‘quarantine hotels’ and GPS tracking work? 

Ministers are scrambling to upgrade the border quarantine system amid fears the rules are being flouted.

Civil servants have been ordered to study the ‘managed isolation’ arrangements used by countries such as Australia, New Zealand and Singapore.

Under those schemes, arrivals from abroad must stay in quarantine hotels for 14 days at their own expense.

Passengers are transferred direct from airports to the hotels, and largely confined to their rooms – with the authorities monitoring to check no-one leaves.

The systems have been credited with stopping Covid cases being imported.

However, some airlines have stopped flying to Australia and New Zealand as the routes are not sustainable – with many citizens stranded abroad as a result.

Officials have also looked at the arrangements in Poland, where isolating individuals face ‘enhanced monitoring’.

That includes being contacted once a day and made to send a picture of themselves at the location where they are meant to be quarantining.

The pictures are validated using facial-recognition technology and GPS data.

However, the option is thought to have been rejected as too intrusive and difficult to implement on scale. 

Mr Chandra was returning to his job with Nokia after visiting friends and family in India.

He said: ‘I am not sure my employer would approve of me having to spend 10 days in quarantine.’

Abby Lancaster, 18, flew into Heathrow after a three-week trip to visit her grandparents in Antigua.

She said:’ I would not want to come back and have to spend another 10 days in a hotel. Who will pay for my stay?

‘It makes much more sense for me to go home rather than stay somewhere else. That is what has been happening for months now.’

Other travellers questioned why they should have to pay for a hotel stay when they can complete their quarantine period at home.

‘It is yet another half cocked idea from the Government,’ said Alan Charters.

‘I think everyone would agree the borders should have been closed a year ago, but now they are only thinking about doing it.

‘Nothing seems to make much sense in what they are doing.’

The powerful Covid O Cabinet sub-committee is due to discuss hotel quarantine ideas over the coming days – although a final decision is not likely until next week.   

Meanwhile, Environment Secretary George Eustice has refused to rule out even more drastic action, with foreigners barred from coming to the UK altogether.    

Asked about the possibility, Mr Eustice told Sky News: ‘We always keep these things under review. And it has been considered.

‘There is concern at the moment about the number of mutant strains.’

Any new restrictions would be a further blow to the beleaguered travel industry and put the holiday plans of millions at risk.

It comes as Britain’s airports are already struggling to cope with demand, with passengers queuing for hours yesterday to get through passport control at Heathrow as the border situation worsened.

It came just hours after the Home Office insisted there were no staffing issues and people were moving through in ‘good time’. 

Rishi Sunak’s Treasury and Grant Shapps’ Department for Transport are pushing against new travel measures over the ‘severe’ impact they would have on aviation, one of the hardest hit sectors during the pandemic, and the wider economy. 

But Priti Patel and Matt Hancock are eager to enforce harsher rules to stop mutant strains from entering the country, potentially undermining the vaccine operation.

Options on the table include imposing the ‘quarantine hotels’ for all arrivals, or for ‘high risk’ countries. The ‘test and release’ scheme, under which people can cut their isolation to five days by having a second test, could also be suspended.    

But one senior source told The Telegraph: ‘Once in place, the restrictions would be difficult to exit, as Australia and New Zealand have found and their economies are suffering as a result. Nor have their quarantines and managed self-isolation proved watertight.’

Marriott today denied that was in talks with the government about using its hotels for quarantine.   

World Health Organisation Health systems development consultant Alvaro Garbayo was so infuriated with the chaos at Heathrow yesterday he attempted to contact Matt Hancock on Twitter to complain.

He asked him: ‘Border control at Heathrow a complete mess, a crowd queuing for more than one hour with not enough space to keep safe distance. Just making sure we all get infected before entering UK? Proactively pushing for herd immunity?

‘And just to make it more likely they hand over water for free so people remove their masks. No special arrangements for people with children, people with disabilities, elders… and we get surprised with our numbers?’

People who have travelled from multiple destinations queue in a system difficult to space

The self-service e-gates at Heathrow Airport are currently closed – with border guards having to check all paperwork and passports manually.

A Home Office spokeswoman said on Wednesday: ‘Border Force has the necessary staff needed to fulfil its vital function of keeping the border secure and protecting the public.

‘Even with the increased Border Force spot checks on arrival, with passengers liable for a fine of £500 for failing to comply with the new rules, the vast majority of people have been moving through the UK border in good time.’

The Home Secretary said last night it was ‘far too early to speculate’ about whether foreign holidays would be possible this summer. 

In a further sign of the disruption ahead, it emerged that EU leaders are discussing plans to close the borders to British travellers to slow the spread of the new Covid variant first identified in Kent.

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