PEOPLE returning to Wales from abroad via England must pay for coronavirus tests before they travel, and will have to quarantine in a hotel in England before travelling on into Wales.

The process will be required if travellers to Wales have been in a country on the so-called 'red list'.

The move is part of a UK four-nation approach to the threat of coronavirus being brought in from overseas, though the quarantine approach for people travelling back to England applies only if they have travelled from or through a 'red list' country.

It means that from Monday February 15, everyone coming back to Wales via England must pay for a test, and will also have to isolate in a hotel for quarantine in England.

Accommodation will cost £1,750 per person and must be arranged before travelling - and those who fail to follow the rule could face fines of up to £10,000.

There is also the prospect of a prison sentence for anyone who lies about having been in a 'red list' country.

Many thousands of people living in Wales travel back via English airports - such as Heathrow and Bristol - and ports, before returning home by car or rail. But the quarantine will apply to them too from Monday.

“We have agreed to a four nation approach, and will be putting in place the same arrangements as the UK Government is doing for England," said a Welsh Government spokesperson.

“This will include all people returning to Wales from February 15 being required to book and pay for tests before they travel.

"This will be done through the UK portal, whether a person has been in a red list country or not.

“This includes anyone planning to travel on to Wales, and they will need to enter a designated hotel for quarantine in England. This will need to be booked before travel."


First Minister Mark Drakeford, speaking in the Senedd yesterday, said Wales wants "a stronger set" of border defences against coronavirus, and called the UK Government’s red list "the bare minimum of what needs to be done to make sure that all the gains that are being made in suppressing the virus and vaccinating our population are not put at risk by people coming into the United Kingdom from other parts of the world where further new variants may already be in the brew”.

Currently, if a UK national travels from or through a 'red list' country - this is subject to regular review and change - back to the UK, they must self isolate on arrival for 10 days, along with their household.

But the new - and very expensive - quarantine hotel arrangements will instead apply in just five days' time.