LONDON — British officials say everyone arriving in the country from coronavirus hot spots will have to spend 10 days in hotel quarantine starting Feb. 15 in a bid to stop new variants of the virus reaching the U.K.
The government is facing criticism for the delay in implementing the policy, which it first announced in late January.
Arrivals from high-risk countries will have to quarantine in approved hotels patrolled by security guards, and will be billed for their stay. The U.K. says it has sought advice from Australia and New Zealand, where quarantine hotels have been used to contain COVID-19.
The main opposition Labour Party said Friday it was “beyond comprehension” that the policy was being introduced so late, 50 days after a new, more transmissible strain of the virus from South Africa had been identified. Labour borders spokesman Nick Thomas-Symonds said the government was doing “too little, too late.”
Britain has experienced Europe’s worst coronavirus outbreak with more than 110,000 confirmed deaths.