The Government announced plans to introduce hotel quarantines for international arrivals from a “red list” of 30 countries last week – but hotel industry leaders say they have been “kept in the dark” about how it will actually work.
Best Western chief executive Rob Paterson told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that the chain is “yet to understand exactly what the protocols are required of the hotels”.
He said: “I think in any normal company if you went out and announced a programme nationally, and you hadn’t thought about how you were going to plan that, and you hadn’t spoken to the people involved, I’m not sure I’d have a job if I did that in my company.
“To this day we simply haven’t heard anything.”
He added: “We’ve got all these contacts in other countries that have already rolled this out for some time. They could offer some really valuable support and we’re just simply kept in the dark.”
When will hotel quarantine start?
Boris Johnson told a Downing Street press conference that Health Secretary Matt Hancock would announce a timeline, along with further details of the proposal, on Thursday.
However, No 10 later said he had been misinformed.
Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi appeared on BBC Breakfast on Thursday morning, and said Mr Hancock will now release an “operational plan” in the “coming days”. This means there may not be announcement until next week.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer accused the Government of being in “chaos and confusion” over the measures.
“Surely, before you announce arrangements like this, you’d have done the planning beforehand,” he said.
How will it work?
The Prime Minister told the Commons last week that passengers will be “met at the airport and transported directly into quarantine”.
These designated hotels will be monitored, and Covid testing will be administered.
Mr Johnson said the Department of Health and Social Care was working to establish quarantine facilities “as quickly as possible”.
The hotel stays are expected to be at the individuals’ cost.
“In order to reduce the risk posed by UK nationals and residents returning home from these countries, I can announce that we will require all such arrivals who cannot be refused entry to isolate in government-provided accommodation, such as hotels, for 10 days without exception,” Mr Johnson said.
Which countries are on the ‘red list’?
The destinations cover all of South America, southern Africa and Portugal.
South America is on the list because of the mutant strain of the virus that has been identified in Brazil.
Similarly, southern Africa has been included because of the South African variant.
Portugal is on the list because it experienced a huge surge of cases in January.
While 30 countries were initially announced, the UAE, Burundi and Rwanda were added subsequently.
Here is the red list in full:
- Cape Verde
- Democratic Republic of Congo
- French Guiana
- Portugal (including Madeira and the Azores)
- South Africa