UK nationals and residents returning from “red list” countries will be placed in quarantine in government-provided accommodation – such as hotels – for 10 days, Boris Johnson has told MPs.
Speaking at Prime Minister’s Questions, Mr Johnson said the new measures – which will be announced by Home Secretary Priti Patel later on Wednesday – are aimed at preventing mutant strains of the COVID virus from reaching the UK.
Travellers will have to pay to isolate in a monitored hotel, with coronavirus testing carried out during their stay, it is understood.
The move has been widely anticipated in recent weeks, with critics arguing the government should have taken tougher action sooner.
They have pointed to the examples of Australia and New Zealand, who have had mandatory quarantines since the early weeks of the pandemic and have largely eliminated transmission of the virus within their borders.
Reports in recent days have emerged of competing views in government over how wide ranging the mandatory quarantine should be.
It has been suggested that some ministers have been arguing the mandatory quarantine should apply to arrivals for all countries, while others have been advocating targeting certain nations deemed to pose more of a risk.
Labour has been calling for a blanket quarantine requirement, arguing that not applying it to all travellers would leave “gaping holes in our nation’s defences against different strains of the virus emerging around the world”.