UK Government has not signed any ‘quarantine hotel’ contracts a week before new travel rules begin
The UK Government has not agreed a contract with any hotels to become a quarantine facility, despite the UK's new travel policy being rolled out next week.
British and Irish citizens, and those with residency rights, who return to the UK from coronavirus hotspots from Monday 15 February, will be asked to go into government-administered quarantine for 10 days.
These so-called “red list” countries include places with new coronavirus variants and may include South Africa and some South American countries.
However, with just one week until the new policy is set to be introduced, the government confirmed it has not yet signed up any hotels to run the system.
It was reported over the weekend that the government may need to find rooms for close to 1,500 returning passengers a day.
Downing Street said that details are due to be unveiled later this week.
The Prime Minister's official spokesperson said: “No formal contracts have been awarded yet. You can expect further updates on this, this week.”
Hotels near ports and airports were sent a commercial specification document last week from the Department for Health and Social Care.
This asked them for proposals on how they could deliver the scheme.
As of last Friday, UK Hospitality, which represents the country's hotel sector, said they had not been consulted.
Best Western's UK chief executive, Rob Paterson, had also hit out at the government, saying they had made multiple offers of support.
However there is confusion as hotels are already offering quarantine stays and advertising specialist packages.
The government has been asked to clarify if someone on a potential “red-list” country should avoid booking one of these in advance, as it won't be official Department of Health and Social Care-backed quarantine.
Current UK rules mean that all people coming into the UK must travel directly to the place they are staying and isolate for ten days.
In some cases people might choose to do this in a hotel if they do not have a home in the UK.
Asked if hotel quarantine packages currently being advertised online are the official government ones, the Prime Minister’s spokesperson said no official contracts had been released yet.
He said: “We haven't issued any contracts yet but we are working closely with hotels and other accommodation providers near ports and airports. We will set out further details later this week.
“But it remains the case anybody who does come into the UK assuming they have had their negative test and filled in their passenger locator form, they are required to isolate at home for ten days afterwards.”