Ministers are attempting to block the spread of new coronavirus variants in the UK amidst fears they may be more resistant to existing vaccines. Later today the Cabinet will meet to discuss whether the system should be extended to all overseas travel.
This would effectively ban foreign travel for those unable or unwilling to pay £1,500 to quarantine in a hotel for ten days.
Under the proposal arrivals would be taken to a hotel from the airport by bus with security guards ensuring they remain.
However officials told the Daily Mail the move would be “logistically challenging” as there are only 10,000 hotel rooms situated near to Heathrow Airport, the UK’s busiest.
As a result the new system could take as long as three weeks to get running.
Currently around 8,000 people arrive in Heathrow each day though this is expected to fall dramatically if compulsory quarantine is introduced.
On Monday Boris Johnson warned additional measures are needed to “protect this country from reinfection from abroad”
The Prime Minister added: “We need a solution that gives us the maximum possible protection against reinfection from abroad.
“You can see the risk. We have to realise there is at least the theoretical risk of a new variant that is a vaccine-busting variant coming in.
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A spokesman for Heathrow warned the aviation industry is “already on its knees” and the new policy would have “huge ramifications for Britain”.
They added: “It is completely unacceptable that an industry worst hit has watched on as others, fortunate to experience a boom in profits and no restrictions, have been afforded unnecessary financial support as we remain ignored.”
A similar sentiment was expressed by a joint statement from industry bodies the Airport Operators’ Association and Airlines UK.
They said: “We have fully supported the Government to do what is right in the face of this pandemic, but policy should be based on evidence and there must be a roadmap out of these restrictions as soon as it is safe.”
On Monday the Government revealed another 592 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19.
The total UK death toll is approaching 100,000 and is expected to exceed this figure later in the week.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said there are revealed there are currently 37,000 people in hospital across Britain with coronavirus.
He added there are “more people on ventilators than at any time in this whole pandemic”.
Nearly 6.6 million people across the UK have received their first coronavirus jab with around four fifths of the over-80s being vaccinated.
These figures are dramatically higher than other European countries, producing fears new more vaccine resistant Covid variants that emerge could be imported into the UK.