International travellers arriving in England from a number of countries face a £1,500 hotel bill under incoming quarantine rules, it has been reported.
Boris Johnson will discuss the proposals – designed to ensure people follow self-isolation rules – with senior ministers at the COVID Operations committee.
Under the plans, passengers will have to pay at least £1,500 for a 10-day isolation stay in a hotel, ITV News reported.
Watch: Hotel quarantine measures under review
Home Secretary Priti Patel declined to comment on “speculation” about quarantine hotels as she answered questions in the Commons on Tuesday.
She said the government “will not hesitate to take further action” to protect the UK from new strains, and that “measures are always under review”.
Shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds said Labour wanted a “comprehensive hotel quarantine system with protections to secure us against new strains”.
Rob Paterson, chief executive of Best Western hotels group, said travellers could expect to pay “considerably reduced” prices for a stay in one of the group’s hotels for their quarantine period – although he did not give a figure.
He told BBC Breakfast: “Naturally, we’d much rather be open and trading at our normal levels, but what we’re doing at the moment is just about covering costs.
“Most hoteliers across the entire country are losing thousands and thousands of pounds every month, so a contract just to stem the losses would be a welcome contract for our hotel, and we stand ready to support the government on that.”
The BBC reported the requirement to isolate in a hotel would apply to arrivals from most of southern Africa and South America, as well as Portugal.
Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi told Sky News on Tuesday that introducing quarantine hotels “is the right thing to do”.
He said: “As we vaccinate more of the adult population, if there are new variants like the South African or the Brazilian variants, we need to be very careful.”
Despite reports suggesting it could take up to three weeks to implement the policy, Paterson said hotels could mobilise “within 24 to 48 hours”.
Various options for quarantining arrivals are said to be on the table, but Whitehall sources suggested that ministers may opt for a more limited system after aviation leaders warned that introducing tougher border rules would be “catastrophic” for the industry.
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”.
Former health secretary Jeremy Hunt said the proposals might need to go further than applying only to those arriving from countries where new variants of COVID-19 have been discovered.
Direct flights to the UK from South Africa, Brazil and Portugal have already been suspended, but British residents have been permitted to return through indirect routes and then self-isolate at home.
Australia became one of the first countries to introduce mandatory hotel quarantine in March, while the practice is also in place in China, New Zealand, India, Singapore, the Philippines, Taiwan, Qatar and Thailand.
In Australia, payment plans or waivers for the fees can sometimes be arranged, subject to specific circumstances.
Watch: Arrivals into Heathrow react to possible hotel quarantines