Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced new border restrictions for travellers arriving into the UK from 22 countries.
Residents arriving back in the UK from certain countries will also have to quarantine in hotels upon arrival.
Speaking to the House of Commons, the PM said: “I want to make clear that under the stay at home regulations, it is illegal to leave home to travel abroad for leisure purposes and we will enforce this at ports and airports by asking people why they are leaving and instructing them to return home if they do not have a valid reason to travel.”
Hotel quarantine not mandatory for all arrivals
The new hotel quarantine measures will apply to people coming from the majority of South America, South Africa and Portugal.
UK nationals, and those with residency rights, who arrive from countries with high coronavirus rates will be required to quarantine in a hotel at their own expense, for up to 10 days.
Travellers will be met at the airport and “transported directly into quarantine”. The Prime Minister said that the Department of Health and Social Care is working to establish these facilities as quickly as possible.
The new rules are similar to those in Australia, where travellers are allocated a hotel room on arrival and taken there by bus. The hotel quarantine lasts a minimum of 14 days, providing a person tests negative for Covid twice.
In Australia, the traveller must also cover the cost of the quarantine, sitting at about £2,500 for a family of two adults and two children.
Boris Johnson told the House of Commons that travel from 22 countries with a risk of known new variants had been banned. The list of these countries has not yet been published by the Government.
The Labour party has called for tougher restrictions to combat the spread of new variants entering the UK.
Party leader Sir Keir Starmer told reporters: “It's very clear that we need to have quarantine comprehensively in hotels for everybody coming into the country, we need much stronger defences at our borders."