People wishing to travel out of the UK will first be required to declare their reason for travel and prove it is essential, the home secretary has said.
Priti Patel said declarations would be checked by carriers and there would be increased police at airports and ports.
The PM said earlier that UK nationals and residents returning from “red list” Covid hotspots would have to quarantine in government-provided hotels.
But Labour described the measures as “too little, too late”.
Shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds said protecting the UK’s borders was one of the key areas where the government had “fallen short” and he was “deeply concerned” the latest measures were “yet another example of this – too little, too late”.
He added proposals to limit hotel quarantine to the specific “red list” of countries did “not go anywhere near far enough”, adding the measures left “huge gaps” in the UK’s defences against emerging variants of the virus.
March ‘earliest’ England school return date
What are the UK travel rules?
How worrying are the new coronavirus variants?
It comes as a further 1,725 deaths within 28 days of a positive coronavirus test were reported in the UK on Wednesday, as well another 25,308 new infections, according to the government dashboard.
The data also shows that up to and including 26 January, more than seven million people have received a first dose of a coronavirus vaccine.
In a statement to the House of Commons on Wednesday, Ms Patel said England’s lockdown rules were “clear [that] people should be staying at home unless they have a valid reason to leave. Going on holiday is not a valid reason.”
She said the new rule would require people wishing to leave the UK to go abroad to first “make a declaration for why they need to travel”, which would then be “checked by carriers prior to departure”.
Ms Patel said: “Anyone who doesn’t have a valid reason for travel will be directed to return home or they will face a fine.”

What counts as essential travel?
Under the national lockdown, people must only travel abroad for essential reasons.
These are the same as the “reasonable excuses” for domestic travel, including:
Work that cannot be done from home
Medical appointments
Educational reasons

She said it was “clear that there are still too many people coming in and out of our country each day” and other border measures would be toughened up to “reduce passenger flow” and protect the UK’s “world-leading” vaccination programme.
Police checks at home addresses will be increased to ensure arrivals are complying with self-isolation rules, and the UK will continue to refuse entry to non-UK citizens from “red list” countries which were already subject to the travel ban.
The list of travel exemptions would also be “urgently” reviewed, she added, to make sure “only the most important and with exceptional reasons are included”.
Chart showing UK coronavirus data
Chart showing vaccination target data

Prime Minister Boris Johnson says the new quarantine rules will apply “without exception”
Earlier, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that UK nationals and residents returning from 30 high-risk countries would have to quarantine in government-provided hotels.
The measures will apply to people coming from most of South America, southern Africa and Portugal, amid concern over new variants of the virus. Most overseas visitors from those countries are already barred from entering the UK.
British nationals and those with residency rights who arrive from high-risk countries will be required to quarantine in a hotel at their own expense for up to 10 days, in a bid to improve compliance with self-isolation rules.

The Government has revealed the full list of countries affected by the new hotel quarantine measures announced on Wednesday.

Travellers returning from 33 “red list” countries will be forced to undergo a 10-day quarantine in hotels or other Government-provided accommodation.

The announcement initially covered countries which were already subject to a travel ban due to concern over mutant strains, including South Africa, Portugal and South American nations.

On Thursday, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps added more to the list, including the United Arab Emirates, which covers Dubai, Burundi and Rwanda.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson told the Commons that passengers returning from those countries will be “met at the airport and transported directly into quarantine”.

Here is the full list of 33 countries:

Hotel quarantine list







Cape Verde



Democratic Republic of Congo



French Guiana










Portugal (including Madeira and the Azores)



South Africa



United Arab Emirates





The cost of staying in one of these hotels has not been disclosed, but further details will be released next week.

Setting out more details of the measures, Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “Despite the stay-at-home regulations we are still seeing people not complying with these rules.

“The rules are clear, people should be staying at home unless they have a valid reason to leave.

Leave a Reply