People travelling into the U.K. from countries on the Government’s “red list” must isolate for 10 days in a quarantine hotel – and pay £1,750 per adult for the privilege! They’re not exactly getting their money’s worth, however. Some travellers have complained of a deterioration in their mental and physical health while isolating due to a lack of fresh air, exercise and proper food. The Guardian has talked to nine travellers who are or have recently been in quarantine hotels.
Some of them had travelled abroad due to sickness or death of loved ones and so were already in a distressed and traumatised state before entering the quarantine process…
While nobody challenged the need to quarantine, it is the way the process has been handled that has generated the complaints. A Facebook group called U.K. Hotel Quarantine Support Chat has been set up and has thousands of members, many of whom have raised concerns about quarantine arrangements.
Dr Sanjay Gupta, an NHS cardiology consultant, who was returning from Kenya where he had travelled to be with his dying father, said: “Not everyone can afford to pay the £1,750 cost. There seems to be something shamelessly opportunistic about this situation. But if you’re arriving from a red list country you don’t have a choice.”
Dr Thanjavur Bragadeesh, also an NHS consultant, who had returned from India where he was helping to care for his elderly parents after both had had surgery, said: “It took several hours to reach the hotel after arriving at the airport. The food is not good and the quantities are small. I got a small box of cereal for breakfast with a cheese omelette that was so hard that if I had thrown it, it would hit someone. One of the things I got for dinner was half a naan bread. I don’t know who got the other half!”
He said people quarantining had to be escorted by security guards for their 15 minutes of fresh air. “We are not prisoners, we are not trying to escape,” he said.
“I really feel for the people who are quarantining with children. The hotel staff have been polite but the conditions here are claustrophobic. It is perfectly reasonable and sensible not to bring infection into the country but things don’t need to be this draconian.”
Zahid Siddiqui, 58, returned from Pakistan where he had spent several months visiting his sick father. He expressed concerns about the lack of ventilation, fresh air and exercise and poor food.
“The whole thing was a nightmare,” he said. “I have various medical conditions such as atrial fibrillation and medical advice is that I need to take daily exercise. But I was only allowed to go outside for two of the 11 days. I have never been in jail in my life but this experience felt like it. I have never before suffered from depression but after my time in the quarantine hotel I now understand the meaning of the word.”
There are currently 43 countries on the Government’s travel “red list“, which will be reviewed, along with the “green” and “amber” lists, every three weeks.
Worth reading in full.