Will I have to quarantine when I arrive from a red list country? England rules for Covid hotels explained

Some arrivals in England are currently required to quarantine at a hotel

Passengers returning to England are currently required to quarantine for 10 days (Getty Images)

Residents of England are about to find out if they will be able to travel abroad this Summer, with the country reportedly on the verge of implementing a traffic light travel system.

Since February all arrivals in England from ‘red list’ countries have been required to quarantine at a hotel for ten days upon their arrival.

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All other visitors have been required to quarantine at home, with a family or friend or at a regular hotel.

It remains unclear how the traffic light travel system will impact the need to quarantine upon return to England – though there has been much speculation.

Here’s what we know so far.

Who is currently required to quarantine at hotels?

Passengers arriving into England from high-risk, or ‘red list’, countries - where coronavirus cases are extremely high or a new strain of the virus is prevalent - are required to isolate at a designated hotel.

Those who arrive from high risk destinations are taken through customs and security in groups, without visiting any communal areas, before being driven to a hotel to begin their isolation period.

Passengers - regardless of whether they are residents of the UK or tourists - are expected to pay for the charges incurred for their isolation period, with bills upwards of £1,000 per person.

The quarantine period lasts for 10 days, during which time those in quarantine are required to stay in their rooms, with food provided via a room service system.

Those required to isolate at a hotel can be released early if they test negative for the virus after five days self-isolating.

What about people arriving from countries with less cases?

Everyone who arrives into England is required quarantine for 10 full days from the point of their arrival with the day of arrival in England will be treated as day zero.

If arriving from a country that is not on the ‘red list’ there is no need to quarantine at a hotel. You can instead quarantine at home, with family and friends or at a hotel.

Tests are also required to be taken on day 2 and day 8 of quarantining.

How could quarantine rules change?

The introduction of a new traffic light travel system would allocate countries a colour depending on if they were safe to visit for a holiday during summer.

The Times reported that travel to and from so-called red list countries would be banned, although the Sun newspaper said those arriving back in the UK from such destinations will have to pay to stay at quarantine hotels, as is the current set-up for the worst affected countries.

Both newspapers said green-listed countries would be exempt from quarantine measures.

The Telegraph claimed that travel to and from an amber country would require a test within 72 hours of departure and arrival to and from the UK with travellers able to leave quarantine on the third day if they test negative. Travellers could also be required to present proof of testing and/or vaccination before entering the UK but would not be required to quarantine.

Which countries are currently on the red list?

The following countries are currently on the UK’s red list.



Bangladesh (will be added to the list 4am Friday 9 April)





Cape Verde



Democratic Republic of the Congo




French Guiana


Kenya (will be added to the list 4am Friday 9 April)






Pakistan (will be added to the list 4am Friday 9 April)




Philippines (will be added to the list 4am Friday 9 April)





South Africa



United Arab Emirates (UAE)