UK’s Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, focuses in on Dubai holidaymakers as he announces tougher border measures in England
The UK’s Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, on Tuesday focused in on Dubai holidaymakers as he announced tougher border measures in England to tackle new variants of coronavirus.
Speaking in the House of Commons, Hancock said UK and Irish residents arriving into England from “red list” countries such as the UAE must book a place in hotel quarantine before travelling.
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He said they will be charged fees – equivalent to £1,750 for an individual travelling alone – which includes 10-days accommodation, testing and transport.
The combination of mass testing, vaccinations and tough enforcement make it “fair for people who are doing the right thing”, he told MPs, adding: “The virus doesn’t treat people differently just because they are better off and might be able to fly to Dubai for the weekend.”
Sixteen hotels with 4,600 rooms have been secured around a small number of ports and airports in England for the “red list” quarantine while all other international arrivals must book two PCR tests ahead of travel to take during their quarantine at home.
A new regime of penalties will toughen enforcement. Up to £2,000 fines for failing to take a booked test, up to £10,000 for avoiding hotel quarantine; and up to 10 years in prison for lying on passenger locator forms.
His comments comes two weeks after the UK government added the UAE to its “red list” of countries, meaning all direct flights from Dubai or Abu Dhabi have been suspended until further notice.
The move bans all non-British and Irish nationals from entering the UK and instructs all travellers to quarantine for 10 days on arrival.
According to a statement, the decision to ban travel “follows the discovery of a new coronavirus variant first identified in South Africa, that may have spread to other countries, including the UAE, Burundi and Rwanda”.
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