HMP Quarantine Hotel, Heathrow

My stepson is a race engineer with an elite sports team employed by a major player in the motorsport industry. To protect his identity, I’ll call him ‘the Stiglet’. The team returned last Monday February 22nd having been to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to compete in a series of events held in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. They were all aware before leaving the UK that because the UAE is on the Government’s ‘red list’, that they’d have to go to a Government-designated hotel and isolate for 10 days upon their return. A group of about 24 of them (circa half the team) were taken to their appointed hotel by bus; none of them were allowed to drive their own vehicles there, presumably for fear they’d do a runner. HMP Covid has four stars, is part of a major group and, as the team’s employer very generously agreed to pay the £1,750.00 bill per person, you might think – as did the Stiglet – that for that amount of money it couldn’t be all bad. Well, think again…

The room given to the Stiglet was disgustingly dirty. As you can see from the two photos below, it’s covered in a layer of dust so thick that it’s obviously not been cleaned for many weeks, if not months.

The third picture appears to be showing flaky paintwork in the bathroom, something one wouldn’t expect to find in a four star hotel. But it’s not the poor standard of decoration that caught the Stiglet’s eye, it’s the little black curly things on the floor! (Look closely and you’ll see them: please bear in mind that the Stiglet isn’t a photographer.)

Needless to say, he complained to the hotel manager, who told him that all rooms are deep cleaned and sanitised according to Government guidelines. Yeah, right! What about cleaning products provided by the hotel so the Stiglet could do his own cleaning, you ask? You can be excused for assuming that in a Government-designated hotel used to quarantine people who may have contracted the virus, there would be any amount of cloths, mops, detergent, disinfectant and sanitizer etc.? Four sachets of wet wipes like the one shown in the picture below is all that the room is furnished with.

Now, you’re probably thinking that a four star prison – sorry – hotel, will be able to rustle up a decent meal for its guests? Apparently not. All meals for the entire duration of the team’s ten day sentence – I mean stay – had to be ordered on the morning of their arrival. Little, if anything, appears to be prepared on the premises and, often as not, by the time the team gets it, it’s stone cold. The next photo is of the Stiglet’s first meal: a chicken curry. “Unappetising” is the word he used to describe it. I think he’s being very charitable.

How about a serving of porridge for those doing porridge? Judging by the next picture, it doesn’t look any more appetising than the chicken curry.

Needless to say, after the first day, many in the team are ordering food in (at extra cost to themselves) and, even, some are getting fresh ingredients to prepare in their rooms. As an aside, you might wonder how one cooks such things as chicken and bacon in a room with no grill, oven or microwave? Well, all rooms are equipped with an iron plus board. It turns out that all one needs to do is sandwich the uncooked items in some aluminium foil, place on the ironing board and, with the iron on full heat, place it on top of the foil. After a few minutes, add a few veg’ and some seasoning, flip it over and repeat. Hey presto – one freshly prepared steaming hot meal. Ingenious and delicious!

At this juncture, some readers might be thinking that while the standard of the accommodation and service is obviously below par, there is a health emergency on and, besides, the Stiglet and his colleagues didn’t have to accept the work offered to them. Whilst this is true, he took the job for two reasons: to earn some money obviously but, mainly, to ensure that his helmet is kept in the picture when future opportunities arise. Like any other elite sport, motorsport is highly competitive. Just as there are players on the subs’ bench at a football or rugby match keen to strut their stuff, there are others waiting in the wings, eager for an opportunity to don the Stiglet’s helmet and impress the bosses with their wizardry. So, the bottom line is that he could have turned down the trip to UAE but, in doing so, he risked losing his place on the team.

I wonder, how does the accommodation and service at HMP Covid Hotel, Heathrow compare to that found in her majesty’s prisons? Do convicted criminals serving real sentences enjoy basic levels of cleanliness, with a hot meal prepared on the premises – all paid for by the taxpayer? My guess is that most of them do (and rightly so). Okay, I get that we’re in the midst of a health crisis. Even so, surely we can all agree that it’s an absolute disgrace that the the Stiglet and his colleagues are forced to endure ten days solitary confinement, incarcerated in a dirty prison masquerading as a hotel, with poor food and only allowed out to exercise accompanied by a security guard – all at exorbitant cost? They are being penalised for wanting to work. Leaving aside the fact that there’s little evidence to suggest that such draconian measures help to prevent the spread of the virus, it’s just plain wrong on every level. It must stop – now! Inmates, I mean guests, can’t even post on Tripadvisor, as the platform has gagged them. Doubtless, Lockdown Sceptics readers will draw their own conclusions as to what – or who – motivated the travel website to do this. After removing the Stiglet’s review, he received this from the Tripadvisor Support Team…

Unfortunately we are unable to post your review at this time. This property has been designated by governmental or regulatory authorities as a quarantine location to serve people affected by the COVID-19 outbreak, and does not offer standard traveler or guest services. Due to this, we are currently not accepting reviews posted by quarantined guests or healthcare workers…

To conclude, the point of this tale is not primarily to garner sympathy for the Stiglet and his colleagues, although their plight and that of those who follow them is completely unacceptable. Nor is it to have a rant about a hotel providing lousy service at high cost, although that too is unacceptable, as its ‘guests’ have no choice about whether or not to stay there. No, the real point of this anecdote is to highlight how our supposedly free and democratic liberal society has imploded so far and so fast, such that normal, law-abiding people are being treated like criminals. If this story had been published a year ago as an insight into how our liberty and freedom of movement will be eroded in such a short space of time – no one would have believed it. ‘Impossible’, ‘ridiculous’, ‘pure fantasy’ and ‘it will never happen’ would have been the responses. Yet, barely twelve months on, it has happened, and the truly sad thing is that so few people are questioning it, and some even condone it. They’re being duped by Johnson, Hancock, Vallance and Witty et al. – who all say that it is the virus that’s to blame. And the compliant and complacent mainstream media, instead of challenging this narrative, are happy to promote it. Obviously it’s the Government and their advisers in SAGE who are to blame, for they are the ones formulating and enacting the policy – not COVID-19. That vast swathes of the population appear either not to understand this, see it or accept it – is as shocking to me as it is mystifying.

Stop Press: The Stiglet and his team mates are due for release from HMP Covid Hotel, Heathrow at midnight next Thursday March 4th – assuming that is – none of them test positive for the virus in the meantime!

September 2022
Free Speech Union

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