Q TRAVEL – The British Embassy in San Jose, Costa Rica confirmed that passengers arriving from countries where worrying coronavirus variants are spreading to pay for 10 days of quarantine in hotels, while rule-breakers will face heavy fines or jail terms, under tighter restrictions from next week.
The new travel rules add to restrictions that already ban travel abroad for holidays. The government said the stronger measures were needed to prevent new variants of the virus from thwarting Britain’s rapid vaccination program.
“The new measures are in addition to the existing ones, including denying entry to non-residents of the United Kingdom who come from countries on the ‘red list’. All passengers, regardless of the country they have traveled from, must provide a negative COVID-19 test taken no more than 3 days prior to departure and must self-isolate upon arrival. A passenger location form must also be completed, with fines for those who do not comply with the measures,” the British government said in a press release.
The measures, which come into force on Monday, February 15, 2021, apply to UK and Irish residents returning from 33 red list countries.
Costa Rica is not on the list.
In Latin America, countries on the list include Panama, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, and Venezuela.
If you have been in or through any of the countries listed below in the last 10 days, you will be refused entry to the UK. British and Irish Nationals, or third country nationals with residence rights in the UK will be able to enter the UK. They must self-isolate for 10 days on arrival along with their household.
Travelers arriving into England who lies on their passenger locator forms about visiting a red list country face a fine of £10,000 (US$14,000) or up to 10 years in jail. Those who fail to quarantine in a government-sanctioned hotel for 10 days face fines of up to £10,000 (US$14,000).
The BBC reports airlines and travel companies will be legally required to make sure travelers have signed up for the new measures before they depart, with fines for companies and passengers if they fail to comply, he said.
The penalties include a £1,000 (US$1,400) fine for travelers who fail to take mandatory tests and a £2,000 (US$2,800) fine for failing to take the second mandatory test – along with a 14-day extension to quarantine.
Failing to quarantine in a designated hotel also carries a fine of between £5,000 (US$7,000 and £10,000 (US$14,000).
Asked when the travel rules would be relaxed, Health secretary Matt Hancock said: “We want to exit from this into a system of safe international travel as soon as practicable and as soon as is safe.”
Travellers arriving in the UK – whether by boat, train or plane – are already required to show proof of a negative Covid-19 test to be allowed entry.
This test must be taken in the 72 hours before travelling, and anyone arriving without one faces a fine of up to £500 (US$700), with Border Force officials carrying out spot checks.
They must also provide contact details and their UK address. They can then travel – by public transport if necessary – to the place where they plan to self-isolate.
All travelers – including British nationals – must self-isolate for 10 days when they get to the UK.
The BBC also reports people leaving England will soon have to make a declaration on why they need to travel, which will be checked by carriers prior to departure.