Holidaymakers face being trapped abroad in their hotel rooms under new rules preventing British tourists from travelling home if they fail a Covid test
- British holidaymakers may end up trapped in hotel rooms abroad for two weeks
- New laws force travellers to produce negative test 72 hours before entering UK
- Fears raised that holidaymakers face paying hundreds of pounds for costly tests
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.
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.’
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