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€1,900 hotel bills and 21-day stays: how nine different destinations enforce travel quarantines

As new variants of Covid-19 surge, more nations are implementing mandatory quarantine facilities for entry. Here are how they compare...


A tourist travels through an airport last year. Photo by SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP via Getty Images

A tourist travels through an airport last year. Photo by SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP via Getty Images

A tourist travels through an airport last year. Photo by SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP via Getty Images

Ireland isn't the only country preparing to put in place a new mandatory quarantine regime.

As new and more contagious variants of the coronavirus have emerged in recent months, more nations are implementing mandatory quarantine facilities for entry.

Canada and England announced last week that they will closely monitor arrivals in quarantine facilities to prevent new variants from gaining traction, following examples set by nations such as New Zealand early in the pandemic.

Government-imposed quarantines have proved effective at detecting cases before they get into the country, effectively halting travel for anyone unwilling to spend (and often pay for) a waiting period confined to a hotel room and monitored by health officials.

But not all government-imposed quarantines are equal, with varying surveillance levels, out-of-pocket costs and stay lengths that range from three days to three weeks.

Here are the quarantine requirements that have largely shuttered nine different tourism destinations around the world.

1. Canada

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced last week that Canada will begin requiring all visitors to stay in a hotel until they receive the result of a mandatory on-arrival coronavirus test.

To board a flight to Canada, travellers will also be required to obtain a negative coronavirus test.

"Travellers will then have to wait for up to three days at an approved hotel for their test results, at their own expense, which is expected to be more than $2,000 (around €1,295)," Trudeau said.

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2. United Kingdom

In addition to new rules requiring an official reason for leaving the country, U.K. residents returning home from 30 high-risk countries will also now be shuttled to approved hotels for mandatory 10-day quarantines on arrival.

The cost of lodging and food will be at the expense of the traveller, and officials have not offered an estimate of the overall cost. Lower-risk arrivals are required to quarantine at home.

3. New Zealand

Allowing only its residents and citizens to utilise the entry program, since the beginning of the pandemic New Zealand has required 14-day quarantines in a hotel where health officials administer coronavirus tests.

The program ensures infections still within the coronavirus incubation period do not make it into the country. It recently made headlines this fall for detecting several cases linked to a long-haul flight to Auckland in September - but also for possibly causing infections in three inbound travellers who were released from quarantine before testing positive.

The government of New Zealand covers the cost of the reentry facilities, except for travellers who plan to again leave the country within 90 days of utilising the quarantine program.

4. Thailand

All visitors to Thailand must quarantine for 14 days in a quarantine facility or government-approved alternative lodging, which includes resorts and luxury hotels that have adapted to offer quarantine packages.

The paid program allows for citizens of any country to quarantine to visit, and is part of a new long-term visa program that Thailand launched this winter in an effort to revive some tourism.

5. Hong Kong

Imposing an exceptionally long quarantine period, Hong Kong mandates that travellers spend 21 days in a facility on arrival and test negative on Days 11 and 21 of their stay to be released.

Stays are paid for by the traveler, and the lodging options range from affordable budget hotels to luxurious high-rise ones. All of the options offer food delivered to the rooms.

6. South Korea

While South Korea allows travellers from high-risk Covid nations like the United States to visit with a negative coronavirus test in hand, all arrivals must complete a 14-day quarantine at a government-approved hotel at their own cost.

"Most tourists must quarantine in government facilities at their own expense," according to the U.S. Embassy in South Korea. "Covid-19 screening measures are subject to change with little advance notice."

7. Australia

The Australian government requires all arrivals - which is restricted to returning Australians - to quarantine for 14 days in a government-monitored hotel.

A set cost for the quarantine facility is charged to the traveller, who must test negative for the coronavirus while in quarantine. Meals are included in the set rate, which is $3,000 AUD (around €1,900) for one person.

8. Taiwan

Since tightening its entry requirements in January, Taiwan - which has had exceptionally low coronavirus case counts since last May - now only permits residents and citizens entry, and only under its 14-day quarantine program.

Entrants must provide their quarantine location and contact information for health officials to follow up with them, and the government has utilised smartphone GPS tracking to monitor quarantining travellers' whereabouts.

The quarantines must be carried out in lodging where no other individuals already live - meaning travellers returning home to family members who have not traveled must stay in a hotel for the duration of their 14-day quarantine.

9. Singapore

While it does allow visitors from the United States to enter, Singapore requires visitors to quarantine in designated hotels for 14 days upon arrival unless they have spent the two weeks prior in a low-Covid-risk country.

The cost for the stay is $2,000 (around €1,245), not including the cost of required coronavirus tests, according to Singapore's immigration authority.

© Washington Post

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