Quarantine hotels: Nadhim Zahawi discusses possibility
Travel bans and border closures have changed in rapid succession across the world amid the coronavirus crisis. Now, as the UK Government rushed to try and protect the UK’s vaccine roll-out against a series of new variants from overseas, even tighter rules on international travel are expected to be introduced.
The latest of these comes in the form of mandatory hotel stays for arrivals where they will endure their 10 days self-isolation at their own expense.
Sky News presenter Niall Paterson said the latest tightened border rules could “spell the end of summer holidays”.
Though the rule is likely to be concerning for those eyeing summer holidays, Covid Vaccine Deployment Minister Nadhim Zahawi has said Britons should “absolutely” not be booking travel just yet.
Speaking on Sky News this morning he said: “At the moment we have reached base camp with the vaccine deployment programme, over six and a half million people now with the first dose.
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“[We have] a long way to go. We have had a tremendous effort, our NHS family, the armed forces, of course, the private sector, and the brilliant volunteers who have come together to deliver this deployment.
“I think it is far too early to [book a holiday], there are still 37 and a half thousand people in hospital with Covid at the moment.
“It is far too early to even speculate about the summer.”
Though Mr Zahawi did not confirm what the new rules would be, he confirmed an announcement would be coming later today from Health Secretary Matt Hancock.
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“There will be an announcement on this issue later on today so I can only say to you that it is the right thing to do because I am the vaccine minister, as we vaccinate more of the adult population if there are new variants, like the South African variant or the Brazilian variant, we acted on those very quickly and, of course, dealt with travel from the countries to Portugal and elsewhere rapidly.
“So it is important we continue to review our border policy and an announcement will be made when the decision is taken.”
He added the Government would be “engaged heavily with the currently struggling travel sector to explain “the decision making at health” as well as “the business department.”
However, travel industry insiders have said they need a “clear roadmap” as to when the limitations on international travel will, at the very least, be reviewed.
Sophie Griffiths, the editor of the Travel Trade Gazette, said: “We’ve seen an increase in people making enquiries about holidays. We’ve seen an increase in people actually booking.
“They want to actually go away. And if we don’t have this roadmap out of this crisis then that is going to be incredibly dangerous for the industry because of the thousands of jobs.
“We need to know are these quarantine measures still going to be in place by summer?
“Can the Government give any kind of suggestion of when they will be reviewed?
“We need to have that detail for the travel industry to function and for thousands of jobs to be protected.”
Under current lockdown rules in the UK, travelling abroad for leisure purposes is illegal.
“You can only travel internationally – or within the UK – where you first have a legally permitted reason to leave home,” explains Gov.UK.
“In addition, you should consider the public health advice in the country you are visiting.
“If you do need to travel overseas (and are legally permitted to do so, for example, because it is for work), even if you are returning to a place you’ve visited before, you should look at the rules in place at your destination and the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) travel advice.”
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