Heathrow Airport has re-opened Terminal 3 as a dedicated arrivals facility for passengers from red list countries.
The terminal will handle all flights arriving from countries with high rates of COVID, or worrying variants, including India, Brazil and South Africa.
It will later move to Terminal 4, but there is, as yet, no confirmed date for the switch.
A Heathrow Airport spokeswoman said: “Red list routes will likely be a feature of UK travel for the foreseeable future as countries vaccinate their populations at different rates.
“We’re adapting Heathrow to this longer-term reality by initially opening a dedicated arrivals facility.”
Heathrow’s decision to open a dedicated terminal for red list arrivals follows criticism that passengers arriving from countries such as India and Brazil were being held in long queues with passengers from other destinations, sometimes for six hours or more.
While arrivals from red list countries must quarantine in a Government-appointed hotel for 10 days, those arriving from amber countries only have to isolate at home for a minimum of five days and those flying in from green countries aren’t required to quarantine at all.
However, there was a growing fear that passengers from amber and green countries could contract COVID by mixing at the airport with arrivals from red countries – and spread the virus in the UK.