Arrivals into England from dozens of "high-risk" countries will have to quarantine in hotels at their own expense under new rules expected to be announced by the government on Wednesday (27 January).
The measures will apply to all travellers, including British nationals and residents, arriving or returning from as many as 30 countries where the government believes there is a significant risk of new Covid variants being imported.
It will apply to arrivals from much of South America, southern and eastern Africa and Portugal owing to its travel links with Brazil, and possibly even the United Arab Emirates, The Telegraph reports.
Ministers met late on Tuesday after several days of discussions to hammer out the full proposals, which are expected to be detailed by home secretary Priti Patel in a House of Commons address.
The UK’s devolved administrations are expected to look at introducing like policies.
According to the BBC, the measures will initially cover countries already subject to UK travel bans, but could be extended to other territories if they are designated high-risk in the future.
Hotel quarantine for arrivals from high-risk locations will come in addition to rules requiring all arrivals to test negative for Covid up to 72 hours prior to departure, as well as the same quarantine rules dating to June last year.
According to The Telegraph, Patel, along with health secretary Matt Hancock, have advocated for an even tougher "Australian-style" regime, that could include a full border closure.
Earlier this week, former health secretary Jeremy Hunt said closing borders and quarantine hotels were "sensible steps".
Labour has called for a more comprehensive regime, with shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds urging the government not to restrict the policy to just high-risk countries.
He said the measures would leave "gaping holes" in the country’s defence against new virus variants. He also called for greater support for the UK’s aviation sector.
The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) said hotel quarantine would result in "the complete collapse of travel and tourism as we know it".
"Travellers and holidaymakers would simply not book business or leisure trips knowing they would have to pay to isolate in a hotel, causing a drastic drop in revenues throughout the sector," said WTTC president and chief executive Gloria Guevara.
"From airlines to travel agents, travel management companies to holiday companies and beyond, the effect on UK travel businesses would be devastating, further delaying the economic recovery. Even the threat of such action is enough to cause consternation and serious alarm."