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The Telegraph

The biggest unanswered questions surrounding hotel quarantine

The UK’s hotel quarantine scheme is now underway, but there are still many unanswered questions. If your location is added to the red list at short notice, could you be hit with an unexpected (but mandatory) stay – and a last-minute £1,750 bill? And what if your flight home is cancelled, or your travel plans change – will you get a refund for the arrangements you’ve made? Here’s what we know so far. How long will the hotel quarantine scheme last? The UK Government originally briefed participating quarantine hotels for an initial period of 45 days. The scheme started on February 15, so a period of 45 days brings us to March 31. According to some experts, however, these facilities could still exist in some form throughout 2021, and well into 2022. Saj Ahmad, Chief Analyst at StrategicAero Research, told Telegraph Travel: “These measures could well last several months, or even until next year. The real challenge for mandatory hotel quarantines will ultimately be paced by vaccination rollouts from the countries where passengers are coming from. Given that the UK is a prime business, tourist, and family-visit-orientated country which attracts millions of people from overseas each year, many of these nations are poorer and are much lower down the pecking order when it comes to vaccinations.” John Grant, Senior Analyst at OAG, expects the scheme to end sooner. “My assessment is that we can expect these hotel quarantines to be with us until around the end of May or early June this year, assuming that the current rates of UK vaccinations continue and that the most recent news about the resilience of the vaccines is correct,” he told us. “There will come a tipping point when enough people are vaccinated and when the sheer pressure to escape the UK will have us all looking to do so. Once [travel] restrictions are eased, hotel quarantines could become increasingly difficult to police, to a point where they are no longer a deterrent and we find more sophisticated means of allowing travel, such as health passports and testing on arrival.”

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