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The UK government said Sunday it wants to require all incoming travelers to isolate themselves at hotels and to extend the new coronavirus restrictions that will come into effect in the coming hours.
All arrivals in the UK must be quarantined and tested negative for COVID-19 starting Monday at 04:00 GMT after the government scrapped “travel corridors” from lower-case countries following the emergence of new strains.
The Sunday Times said the government plans to go further and emulate countries like Australia and New Zealand by telling travelers, at their own expense, to self-isolate in hotels by using GPS and facial recognition technology to check if they are there stay.
“There is a challenge in terms of its processability, its deliverability, but we have to examine this very carefully on the basis of the experience of other countries,” Foreign Minister Dominic Raab told BBC television.
“There will be controls at home, there will be controls at the border. I think that’s the most effective measure we can take at this point,” he said.
“Of course we will review other potential measures. But they have to be workable.”
The measures, which will go into effect on Monday, come after the UK banned all arrivals from South America and Portugal on Friday amid fears of importing a new variant of coronavirus from Brazil.
Mass vaccination program
All travelers, including the returning British, are required to present a negative test upon arrival and then quarantine.
For now, however, it is up to them where to self-isolate, and critics say many passengers have already broken quarantine restrictions.
With infection rates soaring, the whole of the UK has strict lockdown restrictions and people are supposed to stay at home except for reasons such as work, childcare and exercise.
A mass vaccination program is being put on to bring the pandemic under control and Raab said all adults in the UK would be offered a first dose by September.
An additional 1,295 COVID-19-related deaths were reported on Saturday, the third highest daily total since the pandemic started early last year, making one of the world’s worst tolls worse.
The number of new infections was 41,346, its lowest level in January, but the National Health Service (NHS) has warned that some critical patients in London are under pressure and will be moved to Newcastle in the north of England.
“The forecasts assume that the pressure in hospitals will only increase in the next few weeks,” Simon Stevens, head of NHS England, told the BBC.
But the rate of daily vaccinations quadruples new infections, he said, and Health Secretary Matt Hancock told the Sunday Express that Britain was “almost on track” to get out of the pandemic.
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Quote: UK Mulls enforced hotel quarantine for all travelers (2021, January 17), accessed on January 18, 2021 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-01-uk-mulls-hotel-quarantine.html
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