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How 9 destinations around the world enforce mandatory quarantines

Not all government-imposed quarantines are equal, with varying surveillance levels, costs and lengths of stay

(iStock/Washington Post illustration)

As new and more contagious variants of the coronavirus have emerged in recent months, more nations are implementing mandatory quarantine facilities for entry. Canada and England announced last week that they will closely monitor arrivals in quarantine facilities to prevent new variants from gaining traction, following examples set by nations like New Zealand early in the pandemic.

Government-imposed quarantines have proved effective at detecting cases before they get into the country. They effectively halt travel for anyone unwilling to spend (and often pay for) a waiting period confined to a hotel room and monitored by health officials.

U.S. arrivals will now have to quarantine. But officials haven’t said how they plan to enforce it.

But not all government-imposed quarantines are equal, with varying surveillance levels, out-of-pocket costs and stay lengths that range from three days to three weeks.

Here are the quarantine requirements that have largely shuttered tourism in destinations around the world.


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced last week that Canada will begin requiring all visitors to stay in a hotel until they receive the result of a mandatory on-arrival coronavirus test. To board a flight to Canada, travelers will also be required to obtain a negative coronavirus test.

“Travelers will then have to wait for up to three days at an approved hotel for their test results, at their own expense, which is expected to be more than $2,000,” Trudeau said.

United Kingdom

In addition to new rules requiring an official reason for leaving the country, U.K. residents returning home from 30 high-risk countries will also now be shuttled to approved hotels for mandatory 10-day quarantines on arrival. The cost of lodging and food will be at the expense of the traveler, and officials have not offered an estimate of the overall cost. Lower-risk arrivals are required to quarantine at home.

New Zealand

Allowing only its residents and citizens to utilize the entry program, since the beginning of the pandemic New Zealand has required 14-day quarantines in a hotel where health officials administer coronavirus tests. The program ensures infections still within the coronavirus incubation period do not make it into the country. It made headlines this fall for detecting several cases linked to a long-haul flight to Auckland in September — but it also recently made headlines for possibly causing infections in three inbound travelers who were released from quarantine before testing positive.

The government of New Zealand covers the cost of the reentry facilities except for travelers who plan to again leave the country within 90 days of utilizing the quarantine program.


All visitors to Thailand must quarantine for 14 days in a quarantine facility or government-approved alternative lodging, which includes resorts and luxury hotels that have adapted to offer quarantine packages. The paid program allows for citizens of any country to quarantine in order to visit, and is part of a new long-term visa program that Thailand launched this winter in an effort to revive some tourism.

What Americans need to know about finding a coronavirus test abroad

Hong Kong

Imposing an exceptionally long quarantine period, Hong Kong mandates travelers spend 21 days in a facility on arrival and test negative on Days 11 and 21 of their stay to be released. Stays are paid for by the traveler, and the lodging options range from affordable budget hotels to luxurious high-rise ones. All of the options offer food delivered to the rooms.

South Korea

While South Korea allows travelers from high-risk covid nations like the United States to visit with a negative coronavirus test in hand, all arrivals must complete a 14-day quarantine at a government-approved hotel at their own cost.

“Most tourists must quarantine in government facilities at their own expense,” according to the U.S. Embassy in South Korea. “COVID-19 screening measures are subject to change with little advance notice.”


The Australian government requires all arrivals — which is restricted to returning Australians — to quarantine for 14 days in a government-monitored hotel. A set cost for the quarantine facility is charged to the traveler, who must test negative for the coronavirus while in quarantine. Meals are included in the set rate, which is about $2,200 ($3,000 AUD) for one person.


Since tightening its entry requirements in January, Taiwan — which has had exceptionally low coronavirus case counts since last May — now only permits residents and citizens entry, and only under its 14-day quarantine program. Entrants must provide their quarantine location and contact information for health officials to follow up with them, and the government has utilized smartphone GPS tracking to monitor quarantining travelers’ whereabouts. The quarantines must be carried out in lodging where no other individuals already live — meaning travelers returning home to family members who have not traveled must stay in a hotel for the duration of their 14-day quarantine.


While it does allow visitors from the United States to enter, Singapore requires visitors to quarantine in designated hotels for 14 days upon arrival unless they have spent the two weeks prior in a low-covid-risk country. The cost for the stay is $2,000, not including the cost of required coronavirus tests, according to Singapore’s immigration authority.

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