Holidaymakers vow to get around new quarantine rules by driving from Portugal ...

Britons holidaying in Portugal this winter have vowed to skip Boris Johnson's hotel quarantine diktat by travelling home to the UK via the EU, MailOnline can reveal today.

Mr Johnson's plans to forcibly confine travellers from 30 'high risk' countries was branded 'another omnishambles' amid claims it can easily be bypassed by flying home via Spain or Ireland, or driving to Calais to cross the Channel.

MailOnline has previously revealed that travellers from South Africa, where a mutant strain of Covid was found before Christmas, were flowing into the UK via Paris and Amsterdam after direct flights were scrapped. 

Portugal, visited by 2million Britons each year before the pandemic, is expected to be among the 30 'high risk' states on the list because of rocketing infection and death rates as well as its links to Covid-ravaged Brazil. 

But Britons, many of whom have second homes on the Algarve, are already planning to bypass the rules.

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Ken Browne tweeted: 'If you want to escape highly expensive hotel quarantine, just cross from Portugal into Spain and travel from there. It's another omnishambles'. Paul Snape wrote: Won’t everyone just go via a different country? U could drive from Portugal into Spain, get on a flight and get into the country without quarantine'.

Tahir Habib said: 'I know friends planning to come from Portugal via France! You either quarantine everyone coming into the UK from all countries or no one. Plenty of alternative routes back'. One BBC listener told Radio 2 today they planned to travel back to the UK by flying to Dublin and then to Stansted to avoid paying £1,500 for ten days in a hotel.    

The Prime Minister last night met with officials to put the finishing touches to the Australian-style scheme, which is being introduced following concerns about new Covid variants entering Britain - but ignored a plea from Home Secretary Priti Patel and Health Secretary Matt Hancock to apply the diktat to all arrivals.

Labour Leader Sir Keir Starmer told the Commons today that the Government had 'failed' by being 'too slow' to bring it in and claiming that quarantining people from 30 countries 'doesn't go far enough'. 

The 30 'high risk' countries, due to be published later today along with a start date, are expected to include Brazil, South Africa, Portugal, Kenya, Nigeria, Ethiopia, much of South America and southern Africa.  Passengers arriving in Britain from any of the listed countries will have to isolate for 10 days in hotels near airports and pay around £1,500 for the privilege. 

Paul Charles, CEO of travel consultancy The PC Agency, claims that all travellers will also be asked  by airlines and border officials if their journey is essential.  Airlines will be fined if they fail to enforce non-exemptions properly, he said. 

Plans to add Portugal to the quarantine list due to its high infection rates and links to Brazil will be bypassed, Britons have said

Plans to add Portugal to the quarantine list due to its high infection rates and links to Brazil will be bypassed, Britons have said

Plans to add Portugal to the quarantine list due to its high infection rates and links to Brazil will be bypassed, Britons have said

Portugal is expected to be among the 30 'high risk' states on the list because of rocketing infection and death rates. Its beaches, including Carcavelos Beach near Lisbon, are hugely popular with Brits who also flock to the Algarve

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Portugal is expected to be among the 30 'high risk' states on the list because of rocketing infection and death rates. Its beaches, including Carcavelos Beach near Lisbon, are hugely popular with Brits who also flock to the Algarve

Thousands of hotel rooms are going

Thousands of hotel rooms are going 

These are the daily average of cases per million people in the countries that could be on the UK quarantine list

These are the daily average of cases per million people in the countries that could be on the UK quarantine list

The government is also considering dumping its 'test and release' scheme, which allows travellers to leave quarantine if they have a negative Covid test on the fifth day in isolation. This would ensure anyone arriving in Britain would have to self-isolate for ten days. 

Priti Patel, who was calling for a blanket hotel quarantine policy for all travellers, will set out the details in the Commons after the Prime Minister gives a statement on Covid at 1.15pm today.

But Government sources have told MailOnline that the United Arab Emirates, where many social media stars have jetted off during lockdown, is looking less likely to appear on the list.  

Scores of influencers and millionaires have fled to Dubai to lounge in luxury hotels during lockdown. Laura Anderson, Molly-Mae Hague, Maura Higgins, Amber Davies, Georgia Harrison and Kady McDermott were among those to jet off before the third national lockdown. 

Expats working in Dubai and following the rules have accused them of 'taking the f***ing p***' by claiming they are in the city for work, and risking spreading the virus by partying and flouting social distancing. MailOnline has also been inundated with emails from people in Spain, the USA, Canada, Pakistan and South America worried that they may be caught up in the new quarantine scheme and admitting they may rush home to avoid it.

Yesterday it was revealed private flights into a Dubai airport soared by 78% at the end of last year compared to 2019, as travellers, including Love Island stars, rushed to escape lockdown and spend Christmas there.

The imminent quarantine plans split the cabinet with Home Secretary Priti Patel backing a total travel ban that would close Britain's borders.  Ms Patel, thought to be supported by Health Secretary Matt Hancock, had hoped blanket quarantine for all arrivals would stop new variants of coronavirus entering Britain. 

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps and Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab have been arguing strongly for any decision on whether to widen the list to be delayed. 

The impending quarantine rules came as: 

Boris Johnson said he was 'deeply sorry for every life lost' last night as the UK went past 100,000 coronavirus deaths as the PM insisted the Government 'did all we could'; England's Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty believes the country has reached the peak of the latest - and most serious - wave of the pandemic; People infected with Kent coronavirus variant are MORE likely to get symptoms than those who catch older strains, ONS report reveals – but they are less likely to lose smell and taste;  Cases are falling fast - down from 68,000 cases recorded on January 7 to just over 20,000 yesterday. The figure is the lowest it has been since December. But another 1,631 deaths were recorded within 28 days of a positive coronavirus test yesterday, taking the total to 100,162;

Kady McDermott, pictured in Dubai, is another reality star to have made the trip before the lockdown

A collection of reality stars travelled to United Arab Emirates over the festive season. Pictured: Maura Higgins in the city before the third lockdown

Reality stars who fled to Dubai before England's third lockdown began look set to be returning to 10-day compulsory quarantine stay at hotels near Britain's airports. Kady McDermott (left) and Maura Higgins (right) were among the stars to travel to the UAE before lockdown began 

Flagged Camps Bay beach in Cape Town, South Africa, a country certain to be on the list after a dangerous variant emrged before Christmas

Flagged Camps Bay beach in Cape Town, South Africa, a country certain to be on the list after a dangerous variant emrged before Christmas

A deserted Praia da Rocha Beach in Portugal yesterday where the travel industry has been decimated by Covid and will now be added to a quarantine list by the UK, one of its biggest markets

A deserted Praia da Rocha Beach in Portugal yesterday where the travel industry has been decimated by Covid and will now be added to a quarantine list by the UK, one of its biggest markets

Ministers will outline plans today to force British travellers to quarantine in airport hotels, despite warnings from airline chiefs that the sector faces ruin. Pictured: Arrivals at Heathrow Airport yesterday

Ministers will outline plans today to force British travellers to quarantine in airport hotels, despite warnings from airline chiefs that the sector faces ruin. Pictured: Arrivals at Heathrow Airport yesterday

Boris Johnson (pictured) met officials yesterday to put the finishing touches to the Australian-style scheme, which is being introduced following concerns about new Covid variants

Boris Johnson (pictured) met officials yesterday to put the finishing touches to the Australian-style scheme, which is being introduced following concerns about new Covid variants

Angry expats tell MailOnline: British influencers in Dubai to dodge lockdown are 'taking the f***ing p***' 

Expats in Dubai have told MailOnline they are furious about the number of celebrity influencers coming to the city 'for work'.

Dubai had been an ideal choice for many as visitors at the time weren't required to quarantine upon their return to the UK.

Many stars have insisted their trips are for 'work' with the government asking UK residents to avoid unnecessary travel. 

One expat told MailOnline: 'They're taking the f***ing p***'.

Lauren Morgan, who moved to the city with her husband in January 2020, said: 'All the "influencers" coming out to Dubai for ‘work’ has made me so angry, using loop holes to holiday and potentially spreading the virus. Especially as they’re all partying in ridiculous circumstances where social distancing isn’t being observed and rules are not being followed by people from the UK (and I’m sure many others) who have not had to follow the same strict rules as we have in Dubai since March 2020 and is now a way of life to wear a mask and keep your distance and minimise socialising/large group gatherings'.

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On Tuesday the Prime Minister chaired a meeting of the Covid operations committee – which includes participants from the Home Office, the Department of Transport and the Foreign Office – to put the seal on the decision. 

Dubai had been an ideal choice for many as visitors at the time weren't required to quarantine upon their return to the UK.

Many stars have insisted their trips are for 'work' with the government asking UK residents to avoid unnecessary travel. 

An agent, whose client had travelled to Dubai, told the Mirror earlier this month: 'We manage their social media accounts and I've seen a number of death threats in direct messages.

'It's been relentless. We warned them not to travel abroad while a lot of the nation is under severe restrictions as it's a terrible look, but they ignored it.'

Travel chiefs warned quarantine hotels could 'decimate' the beleaguered sector.

Airline bosses wrote to Mr Johnson warning firms could go bust and tens of thousands of jobs lost if summer holidays are cancelled for a second year.

The letter was signed by easyJet chief Johan Lundgren, Virgin Atlantic CEO Shai Weiss, British Airways boss Sean Doyle, Jet2 CEO Steve Heapy and David Burling, CEO of markets and airlines for package holiday giant Tui.

They called for an 'urgent roadmap for the reopening of air travel' as vaccines are rolled out and life begins returning to normal.

They said Britain already has 'some of the toughest border restrictions on international arrivals anywhere in the world'.

And they hit out at ministers for failing to share any 'compelling scientific evidence that introducing a policy potentially of blanket quarantine in hotels is necessary in addition to measures only recently introduced'.

The letter follows a string of announcements on restrictions at borders, including passengers needing proof of a pre-flight negative Covid-19 test and the scrapping of the 'travel corridor' safe list of countries.

Who will be forced to quarantine and can I upgrade my hotel room? We answer the vital questions about the Government's new Australia-style isolation for travellers 

Who will be forced to quarantine in hotels?

As a first step, British travellers returning from high-risk countries where new strains of the virus have been detected, such as Brazil and South Africa, will be forced to isolate for ten days in airport hotels. 

Foreign nationals are already banned from entering the UK from these places. The Government is looking at widening the hotel quarantine requirement to all arrivals at airports and ports from everywhere around the world, but wants to pilot the process with a smaller group of people first. 

Boris Johnson yesterday gathered ministers to sign off on the plans with a decision expected today.

What will happen on arrival?

Travellers who face enforced quarantine will be taken by bus to a hotel where they will have to remain for ten days. 

Officials have begun talks with hotel groups about block-booking rooms that can be used for isolating. 

In Australia, people are required to stay in their room the entire time with security guards patrolling the corridors. Hotel staff are forbidden from cleaning the rooms during a person's stay.

British travellers returning from high-risk countries where new strains of the virus have been detected must isolate for ten days in airport hotels

British travellers returning from high-risk countries where new strains of the virus have been detected must isolate for ten days in airport hotels

Can you upgrade your hotel?

Travellers will not get a choice of hotel. In Australia, people do not know in advance where they will be staying and are warned there is no guarantee of access to a balcony or open window.

What are you supposed to do all day?

In Australia, exercise outside is not allowed so guests are encouraged to do stretches or yoga in their room. 

A guide given to travellers to help prepare for hotel isolation suggests planning different activities to break up the day. Examples given include getting in contact with different friends and family, learning a foreign language on a mobile phone app, trying out a new hobby such as knitting and calligraphy, and catching up on 'life admin'. 

The advice recommends planning 'rewards' to look forward to such as a phone call with a loved one or the delivery of a treat. People sharing rooms with partners and family members are encouraged to set ground rules for the stays such as scheduling a time each day when everyone does a 'quiet' activity to help avoid disagreements.

Last summer an outbreak of coronavirus in Melbourne was blamed on security guards having sex with guests at one of the quarantine hotels.

Who pays the hotel bill?

The Government will arrange transport for travellers to their accommodation, but they will have to cover the cost of their hotel room, estimated to be about £1,500. The cost of 14 days in a quarantine hotel is £1,692 for an adult in Australia, £1,630 in New Zealand and £642 in Thailand.

 

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There is also a complete ban on travel into the UK from 30 countries, including the whole of South America and southern Africa.

The ban does not include British and Irish nationals, longer-term visa holders and permanent residents, who are required to self-isolate for 10 days on arrival.

The airline chiefs pointed out that the aviation industry supports about 1.56million jobs and contributes £88.8billion to the economy, or about 4.5 per cent of UK GDP.

They added: 'With each day the UK is isolated from the world, causing untold economic damage, both to the UK's essential aviation infrastructure – its airlines, airports and ground handlers – but also to those businesses that depend on the UK's connectivity within a global economy.'

The industry is calling for a 'bespoke support package', saying measures up until now have been inadequate. They say business rates relief can currently amount to as little as 4 per cent for larger operators such as Heathrow.

Separately, the World Travel and Tourism Council warned shutting down UK borders further could wipe out more than £548million from the UK economy every day. The travel industry is ending its worst January on record in terms of forward bookings.

It comes as a government source told MailOnline the decisions on the quarnantine plan will 'go down to the wire', adding: 'The meeting will be where the decision is taken. It's not just rubber stamping.' 

They also cautioned that some of those coming in might not be able to pay for their own hotel stay, and there might need to be means-tested support. 

'There's a problem with Brits with not a lot of money ... you can see it coming like a slow motion steamroller.' 

It came as Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi said it was 'too early' to book a summer holiday abroad - but some anxious Britons took to social media to admit the warning came too late, with some having bought flights for as early as the half-term holidays in mid-February. 

Paul Charles, chief executive of travel company The PC Agency, said: 'This is destroying confidence among holidaymakers. People are not booking 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. The Government needs to signal that they will withdraw the hotel quarantine rules by the end of March and return to a system of quarantining arrivals from high-risk areas only.' 

In a joint statement, the Airport Operators Association and Airlines UK insisted the country already has 'some of the highest levels of restrictions in the world' and that introducing tougher rules would be 'catastrophic'. ABTA has urged all its travel agent members to lobby MPs in a bid to convince Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak to agree a multi-billion pound cash bailout for the industry.

A small number of Britons say they are now stuck in Spain and the Canary Islands, where the usually bustling beaches and promenades were largely deserted, as experts fear Mr Johnson's quarantine plan could bankrupt Britain's already ailing tourism industry. 

And photographs from some of Europe's most popular resorts, including Benidorm, show its beaches are deserted with bar and restaurant owners telling MailOnline they will go bust if the Brits don't visit this year.

Stuey Lee Lewis, 70, owner of the Geordie Bar Tat in Benidorm's Rincon area, said: 'Things are really bad. We had locals in but we can't survive on locals, we need the Brits. I know they're missing our home-cooked chips, a cold beer and our sun terrace'. Expat Terence Burgess, 74, told MailOnline: 'I was in Benidorm last week and there wasn't a soul about. It was very sad to see. I went to my favourite karaoke bar to sing and I was the only one in there'.

The quarantine measures will lead to a slew of cancellations and people will not book summer breaks in yet another economic hammer blow to holiday firms and airlines, particularly if, as feared, the travel restrictions stretch into the peak season. Industry leaders have called for a better sector-specific bailout package from the Chancellor.  

But the Prime Minister last night said he wanted 'maximum possible protection against reinfection from abroad' to prevent new coronavirus variants jeopardising the vaccination programme. At a meeting of the Covid-O committee at 6pm this evening, Cabinet ministers will consider making it compulsory for all travellers to quarantine at hotels, regardless of their nationality and where they come from. A formal announcement on the agreed scheme may not come until tomorrow. 

One government source told MailOnline the decisions on the detail will 'go down to the wire'. The meeting will be where the decision is taken. It's not just rubber stamping.'

Sheridan Mordew, 24, from Sunderland, arrived in Dubai on January 2, just a few days before the third national lockdown

Sheridan Mordew, 24, from , arrived in Dubai on January 2, just a few days before the third national lockdown

Many stars have insisted their trips are for 'work' with the government asking UK residents to avoid unnecessary travel. Pictured: Geordie Shore's Sophie Kasaei in Dubai

Many stars have insisted their trips are for 'work' with the government asking UK residents to avoid unnecessary travel. Pictured: Geordie Shore's Sophie Kasaei in Dubai

A health worker standing next to an ambulance at Santa Maria Hospital Lisbon as the pandemic in Portugal worsened

A health worker standing next to an ambulance at Santa Maria Hospital Lisbon as the pandemic in Portugal worsened

Arrivals from South America, Portugal and many countries in southern Africa ¿ areas affected by deadly new strains ¿ are expected to be told to isolate for 10 days in hotels near airports (pictured: The Best Western hotel at Heathrow)

Arrivals from South America, Portugal and many countries in southern Africa – areas affected by deadly new strains – are expected to be told to isolate for 10 days in hotels near airports (pictured: The Best Western hotel at Heathrow)

Government sources say people will have to pay for the cost of their stay ¿ perhaps as much as £1,500. Pictured: The Holiday Inn at Heathrow

Government sources say people will have to pay for the cost of their stay – perhaps as much as £1,500. Pictured: The Holiday Inn at Heathrow

Private flights to the Mohammed Bin Rashid Aerospace Hub (MBRAH) in Dubai soared by 78% in the last three months of 2020 compared with the same period in 2019

Private flights to the Mohammed Bin Rashid Aerospace Hub (MBRAH) in Dubai soared by 78% in the last three months of 2020 compared with the same period in 2019

Change your own bed sheets and meals dropped by your door: Best Western chief reveals grim Covid protocols faced by travellers forced to quarantine in airport hotels for up to £1,500 

A large room at the Best Western - Chiswick Palace Hotel

A large room at the Best Western - Chiswick Palace Hotel 

British travellers arriving back from high-risk coronavirus hotspots will be made to change their own bed sheets and eat meals in their rooms in an 'entirely contactless and sterile experience' as they are forced to quarantine in airport hotels.  

Boris Johnson yesterday

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