Hotel quarantine cost now £2,285 to deter red list travel

Aug 5, 2021

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Editor’s note: This story was updated on 5 August with new information. It was originally published on 26 July.


The mandatory U.K. hotel quarantine system for all arrivals from red list countries just became roughly £500 more expensive.

The cost for a 10-day quarantine in a government-approved hotel has increased to £2,285 per person, according to updated guidance released by the UK government on Wednesday, Aug. 5. The previous rate was £1,750 per person.

The rates for additional travelers in one party has also gone up in price:

(Screenshot provided by the UK government)

As TPG previously reported, the planned increase was designed to deter travel to red list countries, which currently includes the likes of Turkey, India, the Maldives and the United Arab Emirates, among others. Georgia, Mayotte, Mexico and Réunion will also be added to the red list as of Aug. 8.

Related: All 60 countries that are on the UK’s travel red list

The U.K. government maintains it does not make a profit from the hotel quarantine programme despite the high cost charged to travellers for a decidedly unluxurious stay in mid-range and budget airport hotels. Government officials are becoming increasingly frustrated that taxpayers are subsidising the scheme to cover the shortfall for what they deem to be continued unnecessary travel.

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“I also want to point out that people should not be travelling to red list countries,” Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said. “The only people who should be coming back to government quarantine are British or Irish citizens, or people with permanent rights of residence.”

Since the mandatory requirement was introduced in February 2021, more than 123,000 travellers have commenced their hotel quarantine in England according to the most recent NHS Test and Trace weekly statistics. While this number of arrivals could potentially provide more than £200 million in revenue, the quarantine programme is costly to run due to the tight level of control required to ensure arrivals quarantine properly.

These quarantine hotels are easy to spot due to the unusually large numbers of security positioned around each building.

The hotel quarantine cost includes the accommodation, food and beverage, security as well as the mandatory day two and day eight COVID-19 PCR tests.

Related: How do I book my hotel quarantine stay?

The U.K. red list has continued to grow since the traffic light system was introduced, with no countries being downgraded from red to amber or green.

Additional reporting by Caroline Tanner.

Featured image by Hollie Adams/Getty Images

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