Holidaymakers may end up trapped in hotel rooms abroad for two weeks due to new rules preventing British tourists from travelling home if they test positive for Covid-19.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps will introduce laws this week forcing travellers to produce a negative test result no older than 72 hours before they board a plane, boat or train to the UK.
But Britons who test positive at the end of their holiday or business trip will have to follow that country’s local quarantine rules – which could mean up to two weeks confined to a hotel room in places such as Italy, Spain and Dubai.
British holidaymakers may end up trapped in hotel rooms abroad for two weeks if they test positive at the end of their holiday or business trip
Travel expert Alex Macheras told The Mail on Sunday: ‘People need to remember that if you test positive in a foreign country then they will be bound by their local laws and may have to quarantine for up to two weeks.’
In Italy, travellers have to test negative twice before they are released from the country’s two-week quarantine. Dubai also has two-week isolation orders in place for infected people.
Spain has banned British tourists from flying there but those already in the country can fly back home. If they test positive they will have to quarantine at their hotel or holiday accommodation for 14 days.
Mr Macheras said: ‘If people are travelling in a global pandemic then they have to accept there’s going to be disruption and your trip could end up being much longer than you planned.’
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps (pictured) will introduce new laws this week that will force travellers to a produce negative test 72 hours before they board a plane, boat or train to the UK, with £500 fines for those who flout the rules
From Thursday, all travellers will have to provide a negative test before arriving in the UK to prevent the spread of new Covid variants. The results must be obtained less than 72 hours before departure, with £500 fines for those who flout the rules.
Fears have been raised that if strict border controls remain in place once travel opens up again, holidaymakers could face paying hundreds of pounds for costly tests both before departure and on return, potentially pricing many families out of trips.
Travel companies including Thomas Cook are understood to be considering offering tests as part of their package holidays.
Fears have been raised that once travel opens up again, holidaymakers could face paying hundreds of pounds for costly tests both before departure and on return, potentially pricing many families out of trips (file image)
Rapid private tests can be bought online for as little as £30, while ‘gold-standard’ PCR swab tests run from around £80 to as much as £300 for same-day results.
Meanwhile, airline bosses say passengers who test negative for Covid-19 up to three days before take-off should be allowed to fly into and out of Britain without having to quarantine.
The chief executives of British Airways, easyJet, Virgin Atlantic and Heathrow airport want the Government to urgently introduce testing before departure as standard in the UK – and then end the ten-day quarantine rule completely.
They say moves to remove quarantine restrictions are vital to restarting international travel, and want the Government to set out a ‘clear timetable’ for ending lockdown border restrictions.
Rapid private tests can be bought online for as little as £30, while ‘gold-standard’ PCR swab tests run from around £80 to as much as £300 for same-day results. Pictured: London Heathrow airport
Under the new rules on negative tests for the virus, international travellers arriving here still need to self-isolate for ten days, with quarantine halved for those with a negative test taken after five days.
Travel experts warned the testing plan on its own will do little to help struggling airlines because the majority of holidaymakers will not book overseas trips for later in the year if they have to quarantine on return to or arrival in the UK.
A Department for Transport spokesman said: ‘We are still in the middle of a global pandemic and there are risks associated with travelling. Everyone must stay at home unless travelling for a very limited set of reasons, including for work.
‘If you are abroad and have a positive test you should not travel to the airport but should follow the local guidance.’
Influencers and Love Island stars ‘are inundated with abuse’ for going on holiday during pandemic as thousands scramble to get back to the UK before new testing regime begins
Influencers including Love Island stars have been ‘inundated with abuse’ for going on holiday during the coronavirus pandemic – as Britons scramble to get home before the UK’s new testing regime begins.
Downing Street yesterday confirmed that all international arrivals to England, including UK citizens, will soon be required to present a negative Covid-19 test 72 hours before their departure.
However, scientists have warned that cases of the virus could be missed at the border if the Government allows travellers to choose ‘less accurate’ lateral flow tests to prove they are Covid-free.
Pictured: Love Island star Molly-Mae Hague and Tommy Fury in Dubai last month, there is no suggestion they are the reality stars referenced as receiving ‘death threats’
Influencers including Love Island stars have been ‘inundated with abuse’ for going on holiday during the coronavirus pandemic. Pictured: Maura Higgins seen in Dubai in December
The new rule, which will come into force ‘next Wednesday or Thursday’, means around 100,000 Britons who are currently abroad will face a scramble to find Covid tests overseas before returning home.
Those who do not won’t be permitted to travel, or will face a £500 fine on arrival. It is unclear whether those who arrive without a test will then forced into quarantine.
Celebrities have been heavily criticised on social media for travelling over the festive period, with one agent claiming an unidentified star received ‘death threats in [their] direct messages’ following a recent trip to Dubai.
‘It’s been relentless,’ they told the Mirror. ‘We warned them not to travel abroad while a lot of the nation is under severe restrictions as it’s a terrible look, but they ignored it.’
The source added that ‘work’ for influencers consists of ‘doing vlogs’ and ‘advertising diet drinks’, which allows the stars to travel in return for publicity.
They added: ‘But it has gone down like a lead balloon with their fans, and you have to wonder if it is really worth it.’
Pictured: Love Island star Laura Anderson is among those who travelled to Dubai in December
Pictured: Georgia Harrison in Dubai on Friday. There is no suggestion she is the reality star referenced
Love Island stars are among those who have travelled to the United Arab Emirates in recent months, with some jetting off while parts of the UK remained in strict Tier 3 and Tier 4 lockdown.
However, others departed from areas under Tier 2 lockdown in December, when international travel was permitted.
Before the third lockdown began, Love Islanders including Laura Anderson, Molly-Mae Hague, Maura Higgins, Amber Davies, Georgia Harrison and Kady McDermott, were all pictured in Dubai.
Although some have since returned to the UK, the likes of Anderson, McDermott and Harrison are understood to still remain in the United Arab Emirates.
The desert city has been an ideal choice for many as visitors aren’t currently required to quarantine upon their return to the UK.
Many stars have insisted their trips are for ‘work’, as the Government currently asks UK residents to avoid any non-essential travel.