Some of the key differences between quarantine in England and elsewhere
Guests in quarantine in England have to stay for 10 days, with negative tests required for them to then be released. In Australia and New Zealand, isolation lasts for 14 days from the time of arrival, while Hong Kong requires 21 days in hotel isolation.
Only arrivals from 33 countries including Brazil and South Africa need to go into quarantine in England, although more countries could be added. In other countries such as Australia, all arrivals – regardless of country of origin – must go into quarantine. In Australia and New Zealand only citizens or residents are allowed to enter, with a small number of exceptions requiring government approval before travel. Taiwan is similar but also allows international students to enter.
Arrivals in England will have to pay £1,750 for the 10-day stay. New South Wales in Australia charges a similar amount for 13 nights, with discounts for couples or families in both cases. New Zealand doesn’t charge returning citizens if they are staying in the country for longer than 90 days. The UK government says there will be a “deferred repayment plan” spreading the cost over 12 months for those unable to pay. Other countries apply fee waivers in circumstances such as returns for funerals.
Hong Kong and some Australian states bar guests from leaving their rooms during quarantine, while New Zealand in most cases allows regular outdoor exercise or smoking, sometimes in multi-storey car parks attached to a hotel. England will allow “supervised exercise” but it appears discretionary, “only with special permission from hotel staff or security”, according to government documents.
Other countries including New Zealand and Australia have regular testing of staff working at the hotels, but England appears not to have opted for mandatory testing. Because the other countries have a Covid-19 elimination policy, hotel staff are far more at risk than the rest of the population. But since community transmission remains high in the UK, staff are as likely to catch it elsewhere.
Guests who test positive in quarantine in England are expected to prolong their stay, and possibly face higher charges, until they test negative or need to move to a hospital. That means they risk infecting other guests and staff. In New Zealand, those who test positive – including staff – are transferred to a special quarantine facility in Auckland with heavier restrictions.