As the 2021 lockdown continues into February, there are a few changes coming to travelling. The government is set to implement hotel quarantine rules for UK arrivals, a staycation boom could be on the horizon, and vaccine passports are being discussed throughout Europe.
Keep reading to see what you need to know about these stories, as well as more of the latest headlines from the travel industry.
UK hotel quarantine rules
On 27 January, the government announced their plan to implement a hotel quarantine in the UK. While all or ‘all but essential travel’ is banned during the national lockdown, only UK citizens are allowed to come into the country.
At the moment, the idea is for all arrivals from a ‘red list’ of over 30 countries to self-isolate in government-designated hotels for 10 days when they get to the UK. It’s designed to prevent the spread of new coronavirus variants from ‘high-risk countries’.
Travellers will be expected to pay for their own accommodation for the 10 day period, although it’s possible the Test to Release scheme could be used to reduce the time spent in hotel quarantine. The cost is set to be £1,750 per person after a 10-day trip.
Current regulations, such as mandatory testing, will still remain in place alongside the hotel quarantine regulations.
This is set to take effect on 15 February. Find out more on the government’s website.
Staycations are set to become an even more enticing prospect than usual this year.
The demand for self-catering accommodation in the UK, like campsites and cottages, is growing and growing.
Many providers are still honouring cancelled bookings from last year, which will have an effect on the increase in numbers, but there’s still a marked increase on new bookings.
Trends show that many families are looking to make up for their missed Christmas plans by booking staycations for large groups, including parents and grandparents.
If you’ve booked and paid for a place to stay for two nights or more, remember to take out a UK travel insurance policy, it’ll make sure you’re covered against things like having to cancel your trip unexpectedly, unless it’s due to a change in government restrictions.
UK vaccine rollout
It’s no secret that the success of the vaccination schemes across the world could have a large impact on travel after lockdown.
The government laid out a target of fulfilling 15 million first doses the vaccine in the UK by 15 February, which are being divided between four priority groups: all over 70s, care home residents and workers, other health and social care workers, and the clinically extremely vulnerable.
In order to reach this target, 350,000 vaccines would have to be administered each day, from the start of the rollout to the mid-February. The current seven-day average sits at over 400,000, which suggests that we’re on course to reach the target.
It’s fantastic news that over 12 million people have received their first dose of the vaccine, and almost 500,000 people have received their second dose, so far.
On the subject of vaccines, there have been ongoing talks within Europe about ‘vaccine passports’ to allow people to move more freely between countries. The idea is to show you’ve been vaccinated to reduce the quarantine restrictions you face.
Currently, the World Health Organisation (WHO) hasn’t backed vaccine passports, as it is still unclear whether the vaccines prevent transmission but this could be subject to change as more information comes out.
New mandatory requirements for travel to Singapore
From 31 January, travellers to Singapore from select destinations must have a minimum of S$30,000 cover for Covid-related medical expenses included in their travel insurance and take a PCR test upon arrival.
Taking a PCR test upon arrival, which came into effect on 24 January, is not as strict as other countries that require a negative test before travelling.
Singapore citizens returning from the UK and South Africa are also subject to a further seven day self-isolation period, following the existing 14-days Stay Home Notice (SHN) at a designated facility. This is to combat the spread of new strains from these countries.
Travel to Singapore is currently banned from the UK and many other countries.