Britain to bring in COVID hotel quarantine from Feb. 15 - health minister

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Britain's Health Secretary Hancock holds coronavirus briefing in London

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain said it would bring in tighter border controls from Monday Feb. 15 to help guard the country against new variants of COVID-19, requiring hotel quarantine in England for those arriving from the most high risk countries.

"We're setting up a new system of hotel quarantine for UK and Irish residents who have been in red list countries in the last ten days," Health Secretary Matt Hancock said on Tuesday.

Arrivals will have to quarantine in assigned hotels which they will book before departure and pay 1,750 pounds per traveller. Security would be present at the hotels. More details will be published on Thursday, added Hancock.

The government said it had contracted 16 hotels for an initial 4,600 rooms and it would secure more as they are needed.

(Reporting by Sarah Young and William Schomberg; Editing by Kate Holton)