Booking for quarantine hotels open today – but what happens if travellers don't book or can't afford a room?

FROM Monday, the government is enforcing new travel restrictions on all arrivals to the UK, with the booking website going live today.

One of the new changes is the mandatory quarantine hotels, which affects all arrivals from any of the 33 countries deemed "high risk" due to mutant strains of coronavirus.

These currently include Portugal, the UAE, as well as South American and South African nations – here is the full list.

From Monday, anyone arriving will have to quarantine for 10 days at one of the 16 hotels chosen by the government.

Each traveller will have to pay £1,750 which includes "accommodation, breakfast, bunch, evening meals and hot and cold drinks, two Covid tests and transfer from the port of arrival to and from the hotel at the end of the quarantine."

However, a second person sharing a room will pay £650, making the total £2,400 for two while the rate for children will be £325.

Guests won't be able to choose their rooms but families will be able to quarantine together or in adjoining rooms.

All arrivals must book this through the online portal here, which went live today.

The website explains: "You will need to agree to pay for, and book, a quarantine package before you complete your passenger locator form (PLF) and board your return journey to the UK.

"The package includes the costs of transport from the port of arrival to the designated hotel, food, accommodation, security, other essential services and testing."

The government warns that anyone who doesn't arrange the hotel before arriving in England will pay a fine of £4,000 and have to still pay for the hotel package on arrival.

Travellers who break the rules and leave the quarantine early face fines up to £10,000.

Passengers who cannot afford it will be able to defer payments over 12 months.

The website explains: "For those facing significant financial hardship as a result of this charge, there will be an opportunity to apply for a deferred repayment plan when booking.

"This is only available for individuals who already receive income-related benefits, and you will be required to pay back your debt to the government in 12 monthly instalments."

The new measures join the new Covid rest rules which requires three tests from all arrivals, starting Monday.

The additional coronavirus tests for anyone returning from a country not on the high-risk list must also be booked through the new portal.

Costing £210 for both, travellers must have the tests on day two and day eight of the mandatory 10-day quarantine at home.

Anyone who fails to do so will be fined up to £2,000.

Brits are not currently allowed abroad to go on holiday, due to the UK lockdown, so the new rules will mainly affect returning travellers for work or health reasons.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has warned that holidays abroad may not go ahead at all this year, or until all of the UK has been vaccinated.

Speaking on Sky News, he explained: "The truth is we just don’t know how the virus will respond to both to the vaccines and of course how people will respond.

"I’m afraid I can’t give you a definitive, will there or will there not be the opportunity to take holidays this next year either at home or abroad."

He also warned that the vaccine rollout will affect the start date of holidays and he didn't want to "raise people's hopes".

"It is a fact that right now it is illegal to leave your home to go on holiday. At the moment that is off the cards," he said.

Speaking on BBC Breakfast, Mr Shapps said travelling abroad would depend on "everybody having their vaccinations” in the UK – and potentially abroad.

When asked if travel restrictions will stay in place until everyone has had a vaccine, he said: "Yes."

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