Ten years for breaking Covid travel rules? Borders are the latest Boris Johnson fail | Marina Hyde

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The government’s new quarantine restrictions sound tough – but they’re exactly one year too late

Yesterday’s news that the government had still yet to sign a single contract with a hotel for its quarantine scheme felt puzzling. Traditionally, politicians have been experts at booking cheap hotel rooms in a hurry. Maybe they’ve been disincentivised in this case by the absence of a sex worker tapping her watch.

Today, however, Minister for Everything Matt Hancock confirmed hotel quarantine would come into effect on Monday, but only for arrivals from the 33 red-listed countries, and for a very British 10 days, not the safer standard of 14. Anyone lying about coming from a red-list country “could face 10 years in jail” – the magic number also notionally applied to those found illegally streaming football matches, or damaging war memorials. It’s always 10 years.

Marina Hyde is a Guardian columnist

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