Brits may not be able to go on holiday abroad for a year due to gov's hotel quarantine plans, warns travel expert
BRITAIN could be cut off from the rest of the world for a year, as a result of the government’s plans to force all UK arrivals to quarantine in hotels for 10 days.
Travel expert Paul Charles, founder of the PC Agency, made the dire warning as he called on Downing Street to provide an end date to the hotel plan if it's approved at a meeting between ministers tomorrow.
A decision to tighten border controls is set to be made by the Prime Minister tomorrow at a meeting of the government’s Covid operations committee.
They are expected to agree on a further crackdown – in which all arrivals into UK airports will be taken to designated Covid hotels where they would be expected to remain for 10 days.
The hotels – based on the Australian model – will be introduced at major airports, where arrivals from abroad will be ordered to isolate.
But Mr Charles, who also spearheaded the Quash Quarantine campaign last summer, has cautioned that there needs to be an end date for the scheme, or it could carry on for months.
He told Sun Online Travel: “We need the government to put an end date on these measures – what is the exit plan and roadmap for coming out.
“When do you end the policies, when the NHS is not under pressure? That could be end of March and that would be understandable.
“But we need to see an exit plan, otherwise people wouldn’t have confidence to book summer holidays and there is a danger these policies would stay in place for several months.
“But the fear and concern is these would last longer than March.
“That's why we need an end date and to know what the criteria is for ending the scheme, otherwise Britain could be disconnected from the world for a year or more, which is really what's happening in Australia.”
Mr Charles has argued that Britain cannot expect to apply the same rules to its borders as Australia, as the two nations are very different.
He said: “Britain is in a unique geographical position. People have chosen to work and live in UK because of our proximity and ease of access to neighbours in Europe.
“People have set up home here because they can see loved ones in Europe on an hour’s flight away. Britain is not Australia.”
The new rule will be a hammer blow to the tourist trade – and visitors will also be clobbered with the cost of an airport hotel bill immediately on arrival.
Two senior government sources told The Times that the Prime Minister was becoming “more swayed” to make the extreme decision.
And Rishi Sunak is also said to back the plan – believing that the economic cost of the hotel plan is outweighed by the risks of the present travel restrictions.
The Chancellor joins Health Secretary Matt Hancock and Home Secretary Priti Patel in the group of Cabinet ministers who want the decision to include arrivals from all countries, according to reports.
But Mr Charles believes, along with the Minister For Transport Grant Schapps, that the rule should only apply to travellers from high risk countries.
He said: “Let's see what the details is, because we don’t have a decision yet and there may be a short window for measures such as this, but it should only apply to travellers coming from high risk countries, which would help to keep new strains out,
“The government introduced the travel triple lock – Negative Covid tests along with passenger locator formas and quarantine for all countries – only last week.
“These were measures designed to strengthen keeping any new strains out and by all accounts they are already starting to have a positive impact.
“The government should be focusing on the measures already in place to prevent future strains, before tougher measures are brought in which would be very damaging for the economy.”
The Health Secretary Matt Hancock last week warned Brits to plan for a British holiday again this summer as a result of the virus.
Mr Hancock revealed he would be booking his own holiday in Britain later this year, but advised caution until the summer.
He said: "I’m going to Cornwall. And I have said before I think we’re going to have a great British summer.
"But we’ve got a lot of work to do between now and then."
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Mr Hancock's comments follow those of Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab who warned that it was "too early" for Brits to be looking at booking a holiday abroad.
The government has plans to have everyone vaccinated by September, which Mr Hancock said is the earliest to be considering anything further for holiday plans.
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