Last reviewed 10 February 2021

Under changes announced by Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock, all arrivals at English ports from 15 February will be required to undertake two mandatory Covid-19 tests — on the second and eighth day of their 10-day quarantine.

All passengers, no matter which country they have travelled from, are already required to provide proof of a negative Covid-19 test taken no more than three days before departure and must self-isolate on arrival.

A passenger locator form must also be completed with fines for those who fail to comply.

New requirements

With effect from 15 February, anyone arriving who has been in one of the 33 countries on the UK’s travel ban list in the previous 10 days (see https://www.gov.uk/guidance/transport-measures-to-protect-the-uk-from-variant-strains-of-covid-19 for details) will be required to purchase a quarantine package. Bookings will be made through a dedicated online portal (which will go live on 11 February) and packages will include:

  • assigned government transportation

  • food and drinks

  • accommodation in a government-approved facility (the Government has so far contracted 16 hotels with 4600 rooms and more will be secured as needed)

  • security

  • welfare

  • testing.

The charge for a single adult will, the Health Secretary said, be less than £1750.

Arrivals

The country’s major airports, including Heathrow, Gatwick and Birmingham, are designated arrival ports as they account for the vast majority of international arrivals into England and will allow for close monitoring.

Anyone arriving at a non-designated port who has visited a “red list” country will receive a fixed penalty notice and still be required to quarantine in a managed quarantine facility.

All passengers should expect to be checked at various points throughout their journey including by carriers at the time of departure, Border Force officers on arrival and by police, where appropriate, for those quarantining at home.

Penalties

Passenger locator forms will now detail not only their travel journey but also their quarantine and testing package. Anyone attempting to conceal that they have travelled in a “red list” country on their form could face a £10,000 fine or prosecution and up to 10 years in prison.

To ensure compliance, fines will be issued and will range from £5000 rising to £10,000 for arrivals who fail to quarantine in a designated hotel.

A £1000 penalty will also be given to any international arrival who fails to take a mandatory test, followed by a £2000 penalty to any international arrival who fails to take the second mandatory test.

This will be accompanied by an automatic extension of the quarantine period to 14 days.