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UK government details stricter quarantine measures, hotel quarantine pricing

Feb. 09, 2021
4 min read
UK government details stricter quarantine measures, hotel quarantine pricing
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Arrivals into the United Kingdom will soon have to test twice for coronavirus during their quarantine in order to prevent new variants from entering the country. Additionally, those who will be required to undergo their quarantine in a government-supervised hotel will have to pay £1,750 (about $2,411) to do so.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock told the Commons on Tuesday that as of Monday, that all quarantining arrivals will have to take a coronavirus test on days two and eight of their mandatory 10-day isolation period. The two-time testing requirement will apply to all travelers, regardless if they’re undergoing their quarantine in a hotel or at home, and travelers will have to book their tests through an online portal before they travel.

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Additionally, as of Feb. 15 when the hotel quarantine takes effect, travelers will have to pay £1,750 in order to spend their 10 days in a government-supervised self-isolation setting if they’re arriving from a travel ban country. Passengers will be escorted from the airport to the hotel and cannot leave their room.

Related: Hotel quarantine begins 15 February: All 33 countries that are on the UK’s travel ban list

According to Hancock, 4,600 rooms have been procured at 16 hotels across the country. Rooms will have to be booked via an online portal before departure. The portal will go live on Thursday, Feb. 11.

The £1,750 price tag will include room, two tests (on days two and eight) and transfers. There will be a fine of up to £10,000 for those who break the rules.

The fines break down as follows: £1,000 for any international arrival who fails to take a mandatory COVID-19 test; £2,000 for any arrival who fails to take a second test and quarantine will be automatically extended to 14 days; and fines of between £5,000 and £10,000 for failing to quarantine in a designated hotel.

All passengers continue to be required to fill out a passenger locator form prior to traveling to the U.K. Hancock outlined on Tuesday that anyone who has been found to lie on their passenger locator form will face a prison sentence of up to 10 years.

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Tuesday's announcements apply to England, but Hancock said that the government is "working on similarly tough schemes with the devolved administrations."

The new two-time testing requirements are in addition to the pre-departure testing requirement the U.K. implemented last month. As of Jan. 18, all travelers entering the U.K. from abroad by boat, train or plane are required to have proof of a negative COVID-19 test, taken no more than 72 hours prior to scheduled departure.

Related: Pre-departure testing and self-isolation for arrivals: Everything you need to know about traveling to the UK

With the new two-time testing in quarantine, all travelers heading to the U.K. will be required to take three COVID-19 tests at minimum — one prior to traveling and two while in quarantine.

If a traveler tests positive in quarantine, they will be required to self-isolate for an additional 10 days from the date when the test was administered.

Interestingly, the traveler who is quarantining at home can still utilize the Test to Release scheme in England, which allows the person to take a test after five days of quarantine. If the test returns a negative result, they will be allowed to forgo the rest of their 10-day quarantine. However, they will still be required to take a test on their eighth day of entering in the country.

Related: Everything we know about the Test to Release scheme

Travelers entering from a travel ban country are not eligible for the Test to Release scheme.

By implementing a testing requirement whilst in quarantine, the Department of Health said that it will be able to better track new variants that are imported.

The move comes amid growing concern that existing vaccines may not be as effective in protecting against new strains of the virus. Early trials of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine suggest it may only offer “minimal protection” against the variant of the virus that was first detected in South Africa.

Hancock declined to state when these measures may be lifted.

Featured image by Getty Images
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Why We Chose It

It's hard to find a card that competes with the mile-long list of benefits that come with the Amex Business Platinum. While it's certainly not the card for the average consumer, a business owner with tons of expenses -- especially related to travel -- will find this card incredibly valuable. This card is similar to the consumer version that Amex offers, but with more business-oriented perks around statement credits and earning rates that are a better fit for business owners.

Pros

  • An up to $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee every four to five years
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  • Extended warranty protection
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  • Difficulty meeting $15,000 welcome offer for smaller businesses
  • Limited high-bonus categories outside of travel
  • The Points Guy Exclusive Offer: Earn 150,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum Card® within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Get 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com, and 1X points for each dollar you spend on eligible purchases.
  • Earn 1.5X points (that’s an extra half point per dollar) on eligible purchases at US construction material & hardware suppliers, electronic goods retailers and software & cloud system providers, and shipping providers, as well as on purchases of $5,000 or more everywhere else, on up to $2 million of these purchases per calendar year.
  • Unlock over $1,000 in annual statement credits on a curation of business purchases, including select purchases made with Dell Technologies, Indeed, Adobe, and U.S. wireless service providers.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year for checked baggage fees, lounge day passes, and more at one selected airline.
  • $189 CLEAR® Credit: Use your Card and get up to $189 back per year on your CLEAR® membership. CLEAR® is available at more than 50 U.S. airports and stadiums.
  • The American Express Global Lounge Collection® can provide an escape at the airport. With more than 1,400 airport lounges across 140 countries and counting, you have more lounge location options than any other credit card on the market as of 9/2021.
  • $695 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.