Matt Hancock has set out tough new measures to stop Covid-19 from entering England, including a 10-year sentence for incoming passengers who lie about where they have travelled when abroad.
The health secretary said people who entered the UK from 33 high-risk countries would have to pay up to £1,750 to quarantine in designated hotels.
He said the government had contracted 16 hotels with 4,600 rooms initially for those entering the country, a number that would be expanded soon.
“I make no apologies for introducing these measures,” he said.
People arriving in the UK already need a negative test at least 72 hours before they start their journey. Non-UK residents travellers from the “red list” countries have already been banned from entering the UK.
The government will go further from Monday 15 February, with new rules established in England and separate measures in Scotland and Wales, he said.
Anyone arriving in the UK from Monday will need to get PCR tests on days two and days eight after isolating on arrival, in addition to the pre-flight tests already required.
Hancock said they would have to book these tests online on a portal going live on Thursday. And if they test positive, they will have to quarantine for a further 10 days, he said.
He also announced a £1,000 fine for international arrivals who fail to take mandatory test and a £5,000 penalty rising to £10,000 for anyone failing to quarantine in designated hotel.