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Red List Hotel Quarantine Costs Could Increase By £500 to Put People Off “Unnecessary” Travel

Red List Hotel Quarantine Costs Could Increase By £500 to Put People Off “Unnecessary” Travel

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The cost to stay in a UK government-approved quarantine hotel could increase by £500 as part of an attempt to “crackdown” on passengers taking unnecessary trips to high-risk ‘Red List’ destinations like India, South Africa and the United Arab Emirates.

Despite currently having the highest COVID-19 infection rate in the world, the UK still classes 60 countries and territories as higher risk and requires all arrivals from these destinations to spend 10 days in a quarantine hotel.

Travellers must cover the cost of the hotel stay themselves which was set at £1,750 when the system was created in February 2021. Since then, more than 123,775 people have started a quarantine package which includes the cost of two PCR tests.

According to NHS Test and Trace data, the number of people starting hotel quarantine has steadily increased since February although the number of ‘Red List’ countries has also steadily increased.

The quarantine hotel system has come in for frequent criticism, with stories of families being fed inedible food and even reports of lone female travellers being sexually harassed by security guards.

Ministers, however, fear that there is still too much “unnecessary” travel from ‘Red List’ countries and want to discourage trips by bumping up the cost of the hotel quarantine package to £2,250.

“There should be a limit to the number of people who are still abroad and wishing to return,” commented Transport Secretary Grant Shapps. “I sometimes come across cases where people are still using the red list as if it is a case of ‘It’s ok, I can come back and hotel quarantine’. That should not be the case.”

Over the weekend, India’s foreign secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla was in London lobbying the British government to end its Red List ban on India. A travel ban was slapped on India over Delta variant concerns but this has since become the dominant strain across the UK.

Shringla said COVID-19 rates had plummeted across India and that travel should be reopened to fully vaccinated travellers.

So far, no country has been removed from the UK government’s Red List.

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