The UK Reveals Full Details Of Hotel Quarantine

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On Monday 15 February, the UK government is introducing a 10-day supervised quarantine for travelers arriving into England from countries the government has put on its travel “red list”. Details of the quarantine rules and procedures have been drip-fed to the public over a period of weeks but with the new rules set to come into effect in under 4 days’ time, full details have now been published.

Who Will Be Subject To Supervised Quarantine?

If you are a British or Irish national, or a national of a third country with residence rights in the UK and you have been in or passed through a red-list country in the 10 days before your arrival in England, you will be required to quarantine in a managed quarantine hotel.

A limited number of travelers arriving in England who have visited or passed through a red-list country will not need to quarantine in a managed quarantine hotel and the full list of exemptions can be found on this UK government webpage.

Destinations On The UK ‘Red List’

At the time of writing, the following countries and territories are on the UK government’s red list:

Cape Verde
The Democratic Republic of the Congo
French Guiana
Portugal (including Madeira and the Azores)
South Africa
United Arab Emirates (UAE)

Countries may be removed or added in the coming weeks and months.

Ports Of Entry

Travelers required to quarantine in a government-supervised hotel are only allowed to enter the country via a limited number of airports. Specifically, these airports are:

  • Heathrow Airport
  • Gatwick Airport
  • London City Airport
  • Birmingham Airport
  • Farnborough Airfield

Travelers subject to hotel quarantine and with pre-existing bookings that would see them arrive at a port of entry that’s not listed above are required to change their travel plans to ensure that they arrive at one of the nominated airports.

After 15 February carriers will not be permitted to transport anyone who has been in a red list country in the previous 10 days to any other port of entry other than those specified above.

What Supervised Quarantine Entails

Before traveling to England, passengers who are subject to the UK’s supervised hotel quarantine are required to do the following:

  1. Take a coronavirus PCR test and get a negative result within the 3 days before they travel. Proof of a negative PCR test taken within 3 days of travel is required before a person is allowed to embark on their trip to England.
  2. Book a managed quarantine hotel via this portal and make full payment upon booking.
  3. Complete a passenger locator form with details of where they will quarantine upon arrival. A quarantine package booking reference number will be needed to complete the passenger locator form.

Upon arrival into England, this is what travelers heading to supervised quarantine can expect:

  • Border Force offices will want to see a completed passenger locator form, a traveler’s passport, and proof of a negative coronavirus PCR test taken within 3 days of travel.
  • All passengers who are expected to enter supervised quarantine will be escorted through the airport and to transport that will take them to their hotel.
  • Once at the quarantine hotel, passengers will be required to quarantine for 10 days (11 nights) and will be required to take coronavirus PCR tests on days 2 and 8 of their stay.

Note: It will not possible for a traveler to select a particular room or to request an upgrade to a higher grade room. Hotels will prioritize larger or connecting rooms to families.

The Cost Of Supervised Quarantine

Earlier in the week, the UK government announced that the cost of supervised hotel quarantine would be £1,750/person but, as with a lot of things the government says, this isn’t actually true.

Here are the costs of hotel quarantine as published today:

  • 1 adult in 1 room for 10 days/11 nights – £1,750
  • Rate for 1 additional adult or child over 12 – £650
  • Rate for 1 additional child aged 5 to 12 years of age* – £325

*Children under the age of 5 stay free of charge as they are not required to be tested.

While the cost for a single person occupying a single room will be £1,750, a couple sharing a room will only pay £1,200 per person, and a couple with a child aged between 5 and 12 will pay a little over £908 per person as long as they all share the same room.

This doesn’t mean that the cost of quarantine will be cheap, but it will be cheaper than the headline-grabbing rate put out by the government just 2 days ago.

What The Cost Of Quarantine Includes

The “quarantine package” will include the following:

  • The cost of travel to the quarantine hotel
  • The cost of accommodation at the quarantine hotel
  • The cost of the coronavirus PCR tests taken on days 2 and 8 of quarantine
  • All meals
  • The cost of transport back to the airport after the quarantine period is over.

The Hotels

Based on what I can see when I go to the hotel quarantine portal, travelers are not being given a choice of hotels. It looks like hotels will be assigned. The search facility allows travelers to choose their port of entry but once that has been selected and an arrival date entered, the next screen just looks like this:a screenshot of a hotel package

Clicking on “book” just takes you to a page with a message confirming what package is being booked (no mention of a hotel name) and a form where a traveler is expected to enter their contact information and credit card details.

a screenshot of a hotel registration

A quick search of a number of hotel chain websites last night revealed that IHG may be one of the government’s hotel providers….at least at London’s Heathrow.

A search for rooms tonight (before hotel quarantine goes live) shows that there are rooms available at two of IHG’s Heathrow properties on Bath Road…

screens screenshots of a hotel

…but I haven’t been able to find rooms available at the same hotels for dates after Monday 15 February (when hotel quarantine starts).

a screenshot of a hotel

This may be a coincidence, but that’s unlikely. England is under lockdown right now and has been for over a month, so any hotels that were going to close would have closed by now and any that have remained open are certainly not getting enough guests to sell out. These hotels are almost certainly part of the UK’s enforced hotel quarantine program.

Testing Positive During Quarantine

If a traveler tests positive for COVID-19 on day 2, they must quarantine until day 12 and anyone they traveled with will be required to quarantine until day 12 as well. Travelers who test positive for coronavirus on day 2 will not be required to take the test on day 8.

If a traveler tests positive for COVID-19 on day 8, they must quarantine until day 18 and anyone they traveled with will be required to quarantine until day 18 as well.

Leaving Quarantine

A traveler will be allowed to leave quarantine when they have received a negative result from their test on day 8 and have quarantined for 10 full days.

Anyone testing positive for COVID-19 during quarantine will not be allowed to leave hotel quarantine until 10 days have passed from the date of the positive test.

Should a traveler develop new coronavirus symptoms on day 9 or day 10 of quarantine, a further test will be required and, if positive for COVID-19, their quarantine period will be extended by a further 10 days (this applies even if the traveler has tested negative for coronavirus on day 8).

Elite Status Privileges, Miles & Points

No doubt some people will be wondering if a 10-day stay at one of the UK’s quarantine hotels will entitle guests to elite status privileges and if travelers will be able to earn any miles and points from their enforced hotel stay.

In short, the answer is (mostly) no.

Leaving aside the fact that people in quarantine will be confined to their rooms for the duration and so wouldn’t be able to avail themselves of most elite status benefits anyway, the UK government quarantine hotel bookings are being made through a 3rd party portal and are therefore not eligible for miles and points accrual, and are not eligible for elite status recognition.

The only way to earn miles & points from the UK’s hotel quarantine program will be to pay for the stay using a miles & points credit card.

Bottom Line

Full details of the UK’s government-supervised hotel quarantine program have now been made public and despite the fact that the hotel booking portal went down almost as soon as it went live (around 13:00 UK time on 11 February) and didn’t come back up until 25 hours later, people set to travel to England from countries on the red list can now make preparations for their arrival.


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