Enforced hotel quarantine

By | Category: Travel news

The announcement by the British government that people entering the UK would be taken to nominated hotels and stay there at the passengers’ expense for ten days has been largely misreported.

A complete lockdown has seemingly helped New Zealand control the virus

All week headlines have been suggesting all people entering the UK will face hotel quarantine at their expense. Get into the nitty-gritty of the story and it turns out not to be the whole truth.

What the Home Secretary, Priti Patel, said today is that people returning from 22 countries will go into hotels and pay themselves for their ten-day quarantine.

It is only people coming into the UK from largely Southern Africa and islands of the African coastline, South America and Portugal that are affected because they have travelled from parts of the world where two virulent strains of the virus are prevalent. Why Spain was omitted given the strong cultural links with other South American countries is unclear.

The Brazilian and South African strains as they have been named are the ones that no country wants introduced so it is doing everything to keep people from those affected areas out. But countries have a duty of responsibility to their own residents so when residents return home, rather than return to their own homes and possibly spread the virus, enforced quarantine in hotels is the perceived solution.

The logic is based on the success of New Zealand and Australia in locking down and hitting hard which is widely considered to be successful. At the weekend, New Zealand announced a single case which had been brought into the country by someone coming from Europe.

Within a day, Australia had suspended the travel bubble between the two countries. Now the New Zealand prime minister suggests that the country may not open up to international travel ar all this year. Not because of what New Zealand has done but because of the state of the pandemic in the rest of the world.

Other stories from earlier in the week said that 10,000 people (a figure that is disputed) are coming into the UK each day and that hotels around the airports had a similar capacity per night so would be full in a day are misleading. Ten thousand daily arrivals might be the total arriving but the number coming from the areas notified by the government today is much smaller.

In Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon has suggested a larger number of countries should be included in the restrictions. the Welsh government has also said that the regulation doesn’t go far enough.

Time will tell if tougher action is added

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