CROWDS of travellers arrived in Heathrow Airport today just days ahead of the new quarantine hotel rules.
Jetsetters have rushed back to the UK before tough rules forcing travellers to spend hundreds of pounds on hotel rooms and Covid tests come into force.
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International passengers made their way through border control with their many suitcases this afternoon – just narrowly missing new mandatory travel rules.
England's border controls are set to tighten and quarantine hotels are to be introduced on February 15.
In a desperate bid to stop people bringing new Covid mutant strains into the country, travellers from 33 'red list' countries will now have to isolate in hotels for a minimum of 10 days.
But more than 200,000 passengers from the 'red list' countries are set to enter the UK before the new rules come into force next week.
From Monday, all travellers entering the UK will also have to take two coronavirus tests while self-isolating, it's been confirmed.
And the entire process – including the two mandatory tests and a quarantine hotel room- will cost arrivals £1,750 each.
People must get a test on day two and day eight of their 10-day quarantine period.
If passengers leave the quarantine hotel before their 10 days are up, they will be handed a £5,000 coronavirus fine.
But this figure can increase up to £10,000, Matt Hancock warned.
The Health Secretary also announced that passengers arriving from 'red list' countries will be forced to stay in the hotels for LONGER than 10 days – if they test positive.
Travellers will have to stay in the quarantine hotel until they are proven to no longer be infectious.
Matt Hancock said the new measures – beginning on Monday, February 15 – are being enforced so we can "protect the progress that we've worked together so hard to accomplish."
Brits also face up to 10 years in jail if they refuse to tell authorities where they have been travelling – and are later found to have visited 'red-list' countries.
Passengers who dupe border authorities when coming back from Covid “red" countries like South Africa, Brazil or Dubai will be treated as criminals and have the book thrown at them.
Mr Hancock said: "Anyone who lies on the passenger locator form and tries to conceal that they've been in a country on the red list in the 10 days before arrival here will face a prison sentence of up to 10 years."
And its not just 'red list' travellers who are affected by the new changes – as all arrivals flying into England's airports will have to take a Covid test on days two and eight of isolation.
The cost of this bundle will be £210 per person.
And there will also be fines for people who fail to take the Covid tests on both occasions during their isolation period.
There will be a £1,000 penalty for failing to take the first coronavirus test, and a £2,000 fine for failing to take the second.
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