Scotland has added Dubai to its travel quarantine list leading to speculation that England will follow suit – and sparking fears for celebrities holidaying in the Middle East.
Dubai has become a popular lockdown holiday destination for the social media elite with countless influencers and reality stars jetting off to the city for some Winter sun.
In November, the United Arab Emirates was added to the Government’s travel corridor list meaning Britons could return to England and not need to quarantine.
But last night, Scotland ordered all arrivals from Dubai to self-isolate for 10 days from 4am on Monday after a surge in Covid cases in Dubai arrivals.
The move is sure to be a blow to the countless celebrities who jetted off to the desert paradise for a holiday as concerns are brewing that England will follow Scotland’s lead.
Under new rules – expected to start this week – passengers arriving from all international destinations must present a negative Covid-19 test result before they can depart for England.
But those arriving from countries on the quarantine list must also isolate for 10 days, even if they test negative.
Celebrities understood to still be in Dubai include Love Island stars Jess Gale and Georgia Steel and Geordie Shore’s Chloe Ferry.
Scotland’s quarantine rule will also apply retrospectively for passengers who have travelled to Scotland from Dubai since January 3.
Those who arrived before 4am will have to self-isolate for 10 days dating from when they arrived back to Scotland.
The Scottish Government said the change is due to a number of positive cases identified in passengers who have flown into Glasgow from Dubai since the new year.
It was yesterday revealed that one of the players on Celtic football team has tested positive for coronavirus following their controversial warm-weather training camp in Dubai.
The Scottish Premiership champions’ squad were tested upon their return to Glasgow after spending six days in the United Arab Emirates.
The Government said the ‘preventative action’ will help stem the rise in coronavirus cases.
Dubai reported 1,967 daily cases on January 5. On January 9, the daily case figure stood at 2,998.
The UK announced a further 573 coronavirus deaths yesterday in the highest Sunday rise since April, and the third-deadliest Sunday of the entire pandemic.
Infections also continue to be high, with 54,940 announced on Sunday – the thirteenth day in a row they have been above the 50,000 mark.
Transport Secretary Michael Matheson said: ‘It is evident, both in Scotland and in countries across the world, that the virus continues to pose real risks to health and to life and we need to interrupt the rise in cases.
‘Imposing quarantine requirements on those arriving in the UK is our first defence in managing the risk of imported cases from communities with high risks of transmission. That is why we have made the decision to remove Dubai from the country exemptions list.
‘Whether or not an overseas destination has been designated for quarantine restrictions, our message remains clear that people should not currently be undertaking non-essential foreign travel.
‘People need to stay at home to help suppress the virus, protect our NHS and save lives.’
Passengers can still arrive from other Emirates, including Abu Dhabi.
Celebrities have been heavily criticised on social media for travelling over the festive period, with one agent claiming an unidentified star received ‘death threats in [their] direct messages’ following a recent trip to Dubai.
‘It’s been relentless,’ they told the Mirror. ‘We warned them not to travel abroad while a lot of the nation is under severe restrictions as it’s a terrible look, but they ignored it.’
The source added that ‘work’ for influencers consists of ‘doing vlogs’ and ‘advertising diet drinks’, which allows the stars to travel in return for publicity.
They added: ‘But it has gone down like a lead balloon with their fans, and you have to wonder if it is really worth it.’
Love Island stars are among those who have travelled to the United Arab Emirates in recent months, with some jetting off while parts of the UK remained in strict Tier 3 and Tier 4 lockdown.
However, others departed from areas under Tier 2 lockdown in December, when international travel was permitted.
Before the third lockdown began, Love Islanders including Laura Anderson, Molly-Mae Hague, Maura Higgins, Amber Davies, Georgia Harrison and Kady McDermott, were all pictured in Dubai.
The desert city has been an ideal choice for many as visitors aren’t currently required to quarantine upon their return to the UK.
Many stars have insisted their trips are for ‘work’, as the Government currently asks UK residents to avoid any non-essential travel.
Many influencers have been forced to defend their actions to angry fans on social media after they were criticised for globetrotting during the pandemic, with the UK recording upwards of 68,000 Covid cases yesterday.
In December, Molly-Mae Hague, 21, who flew to the Maldives following a break in Dubai with Tommy Fury, insisted she didn’t break any rules, as the couple left their Manchester home under Tier 2 restrictions.
She said: ‘In response to the messages I’m already getting about us being away throughout this time…
‘Please understand that Tommy and I left the UK from Cheshire which was in Tier 2 at the time. We didn’t break any rules coming away.
‘If we knew these rules were going to be put in place then obviously we would have never left the UK.
‘The minute we arrive home we will be following government guidelines.’
Yesterday, holidaymakers were warned that they may end up trapped in hotel rooms abroad for two weeks due to new rules preventing British tourists from travelling home if they test positive for Covid-19.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps will introduce laws this week forcing travellers to produce a negative test result no older than 72 hours before they board a plane, boat or train to the UK.
But Britons who test positive at the end of their holiday or business trip will have to follow that country’s local quarantine rules – which could mean up to two weeks confined to a hotel room in places such as Italy, Spain and Dubai.
Travel expert Alex Macheras told The Mail on Sunday: ‘People need to remember that if you test positive in a foreign country then they will be bound by their local laws and may have to quarantine for up to two weeks.’
In Italy, travellers have to test negative twice before they are released from the country’s two-week quarantine. Dubai also has two-week isolation orders in place for infected people.
Spain has banned British tourists from flying there but those already in the country can fly back home. If they test positive they will have to quarantine at their hotel or holiday accommodation for 14 days.
Mr Macheras said: ‘If people are travelling in a global pandemic then they have to accept there’s going to be disruption and your trip could end up being much longer than you planned.’