Published: 06:52, 25 January 2021
| Updated: 11:50, 25 January 2021
British holidaymakers returning from abroad will have to isolate for ten days at airport hotels as soon as they enter the country under new restrictions due to be discussed tomorrow.
Ministers are set to sign off the new measures, despite fears it will sound the death knell for the travel industry.
The proposal is modelled on a system in operation in Australia. All arrivals will be sent to hotels patrolled by security guards regardless of nationality or where they have travelled from.
People will have to pay the cost of the ten-day hotel stay, on top of the cost of their holiday.
Paul Clarke, chief executive of travel company The PC Agency, said the move would 'destroy confidence among holidaymakers', adding: "People are not booking their summer holidays because they don't believe there is an end game which will see these blanket measures removed.
"This is a sure-fire way of destroying Britain's aviation and travel industries."
News of tougher restrictions follows a warning from Health Secretary Matt Hancock that the country was a 'long, long way' from being able to ease lockdown.
He warned it was 'absolutely critical' Britain was protected from new mutant strains of the virus that might not respond to vaccines.
Mr Hancock said: "It is because of the new variants that we are more worried about international travel. The critical thing is to protect ourselves from a new variant that might not respond as effectively to the vaccine.
"Protecting Britain from that is critical to making sure we get this sorted as quickly as possible."
It comes a day after it was revealed that schools may not open until after Easter, leading to more months of home-schooling.
The quarantine plan will be discussed today at a meeting of the Government's Covid committee. Officials are confident they can find enough hotel rooms to accommodate all arrivals - a figure currently standing at 10,000 a day.
Last week all of Britain's travel corridors were scrapped following concerns about new coronavirus variants.