Britons returning from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Kenya and the Philippines will have to go into hotel quarantine from next Friday in a move that will further deter any travel during the Easter school holidays.
The four countries are to be added to England’s “red list” of countries under a travel ban amid concerns about the spread of new Covid variants that could undermine the effectiveness of the vaccination programme.
The restrictions require British arrivals to quarantine in a Government-approved hotel for 11 days at a cost of up to £1,750 per person. As well as a pre-departure test, they are tested for Covid on days two and eight of their self-isolation.
It increases the number of “red list” countries – from which travellers are banned from entering Britain unless they are a British or Irish national or a resident in the UK – to 39.
The 35 hotel quarantine ‘red list’ countries
The restrictions on the four countries will come into force from 4am on April 9, in the middle of the Easter school holidays in England, and will mean anyone taking advantage of the break to travel to the four countries will be hotel quarantined on their return.
There are concerns that the seven-day delay could spark a rush to return before next Friday’s deadline.
The British Pakistani population numbers more than one million, and people travelling for weddings have been blamed for spreading infection in the south Asian country.
More than 5,200 cases were recorded in Pakistan on Thursday, and a third spike is being driven by the highly-transmissible variant first detected in Kent. Bangladesh has also been hit by a third spike, averaging 4,767 cases a day over the past week.