More than 100 people arriving in Britain every day are being sent to Covid-19 quarantine hotels, MPs were told today.
Border Force director-general Paul Lincoln revealed that of the 15,000 daily arrivals into the UK, “only 100 or so people per day” are taken to the Government-approved facilities.
The tough regime, which costs “guests” £1,750 for an 11-night stay, was introduced earlier this month.
Under the system, people who have travelled through one of the 33 “red list” countries of coronavirus hotspots must stay at a quarantine hotel when they return.
Direct flights from the 33 nations are banned but British nationals and people who normally live here can travel home via other routes.
Mr Lincoln told the Commons Home Affairs Committee: “In broad terms there are about 14,000 or 15,000 people coming into the country on any given day – that is now about 95% down from what we would have seen at this time routinely in previous years.”
He said between 1,100 and 1,200 people are currently in the managed quarantine service hotels.
Home Secretary Priti Patel warned lockdown-weary Britons it was still “far too early” to plan holidays abroad.
Foreign trips could be allowed again from May 17 under Boris Johnson’s “roadmap” – triggering a surge of bookings for summer sunshine getaways to destinations like Spain and Greece.
But Ms Patel told MPs: “It’s far too early.
“We have to look at the data at every single stage – the roadmap outlined by the Prime Minister makes that abundantly clear.”
The figure of 100 a day is lower than the number of arrivals from red list countries before the policy took force, which was previously estimated at more than 1,000 a day.
Yvette Cooper, chair of the committee, said later: “The revelation at the Home Affairs Committee this morning that 99% of arriving travellers are not covered by hotel quarantine is very troubling.
“New variants are continuing to spread through countries across the world yet the majority of travellers are still able to go straight onto public transport home without being tested on arrival, despite having been on planes, buses and in crowded airport queues, including with arrivals from high risk countries.
“The Government’s own assessment says airport arrival testing could lower the volume of infectious travellers entering the UK, so why have we not put this extra layer of protection in place?”