UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed on Monday that the United Kingdom is considering changes to its self-isolation requirements for inbound international travelers, including a possible mandatory hotel quarantine period for those entering the UK.
The country currently requires travelers to have tested negative for COVID-19 within 72 hours before their travel and to fill out a passenger locator form that includes where they will be staying. Once in the UK, travelers must quarantine for ten days, unless they show a negative test five days after being in the UK. With certain, limited exceptions, travelers must isolate in one location, and it must be the location listed on their passenger locator form. Slightly different rules apply in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.
If imposed, the new restrictions could last six to eight weeks. The precise parameters of the hotel quarantine requirement (and who will foot the bill) remain undefined, but the restrictions would likely be based on the successes achieved in other countries. For instance, the UK has looked to Australia’s hotel quarantine requirement in light of its success in controlling COVID spread. Australia at present requires a fourteen-day hotel quarantine, in addition to other requirements. During that time, travelers must stay in their rooms and cannot have visitors.
In addition to a hotel quarantine period, some in the UK have contemplated the idea of using an app to track the location of incoming travelers and ensure compliance with quarantine requirements. The UK could also consider discontinuing allowing travelers to test out of quarantine after five days or banning all incoming flights. The UK has already banned flights from twenty-nine countries.
New Zealand, Taiwan, Cambodia, the Philippines, South Korea, Anguilla, Guam, Lebanon, Qatar, Barbados, Saba, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines all have some version of a hotel quarantine requirement. Canada is also considering imposing a hotel quarantine. Israel ended its hotel quarantine requirement in late December after significant public pushback, although hotel quarantine will still be required for those refusing to take a COVID-19 test.
These new rules are an effort to keep out a fast-moving new variant of the coronavirus. For the most up to date information, please watch the Global Travel Navigator tool and follow our blog, The Mobile Workforce, for additional information.