Covid: "Quarantine Hotel Fiasco Has Cost Us PS5,500"

Quarantine hotel guests who have returned from red-list countries are frustrated at the suggestion that current travel rules might be altered.

14 December 2021 Tuesday 13:06
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Covid: "Quarantine Hotel Fiasco Has Cost Us PS5,500"

Some people have already paid thousands to stay at government-approved facilities. There have been complaints about chaotic organisation and inedible food during the 10-day quarantine period.

In response to Omicron's variant, the red list was reinstated in November.

"Some meals were unpalatable"

Lauren Hopkins was exhausted when she spoke to the BBC on Tuesday.

Her partner and she had arrived from South Africa to Heathrow, but the quarantine hotel that they booked for their return was not ready. While they waited for alternative accommodation, they spent seven hours on the bus transfer bus.

Lauren claims that the hotel room where they were taken is just fine. The food, however, is not.

"It's dire. "It's dire. We haven't had any good meals, and we've had some that were disgusting."

She sat in on the Downing Street press conference last Wednesday, where Boris Johnson was asked why British travellers from red-list countries could not self-isolate at their homes instead of staying in hotels.

This was a "fair challenge", given Omicron's spread throughout the globe, and he said that the red-list system would be "looked into".

Since then, other ministers have indicated that they will consider changing the travel rules because Omicron is already being transmitted in the community.

Lauren felt that this was a slap in the face. "That was our worst day. Long-term it's great. However, it frustrates us.

"Thinking back to the upheaval, stress, and cost of everything we went through. All of this has been for nothing. She and her partner believe they would be more secure quarantining at home without the assistance of security guards and staff from hotels.

Their spirits are currently being held up by gifts from family and friends.

"We have daily cards, snacks, and games. It's been a great way to pass the time. "We had to go into debt in order to pay the bill."

Catharina Vorster felt even more stressed when she had to get her 16-year old son to his quarantine hospital. Staff were accused of "losing him" for a while, she claimed.

He flew alone to Heathrow from South Africa last Monday.

"As he is minor, an adult must quarantine with him. We were told that this was the case. My husband and I were both in the United Kingdom, so one of us would have to quarantine with him. My husband will do this as I am expected to be at work.

First, the family is unhappy with the price of the stay. "We had no choice but to go into debt in order to pay the PS3,715".

The parents had no choice but to go to the hotel they booked, having been advised by CTM booking company.

Their son was not registered in the UK so he used the Wi-Fi at Heathrow Airport to inform them that he was going on a bus. He claimed it was 10 p.m. and that the trip should take about an hour.

Catharina became concerned after waiting for more than two hours. Although several buses arrived at the hotel parking lot, Catharina was still not able to see her son.

The hotel staff had a copy his passport but he wasn't there.

Catharina was not able to find him. He was only found by Riaan, her husband, who became extremely anxious and almost rang the police when he began to look beyond the parking lot. "Another bus was at the gate."

Given her son's age, she is angry at the lack of communication between staff and her son's location.

"I'm fuming. He is 16 years old, and has been stuck on a bus for nearly two hours. It's not true. "It was one expense after the other."

Alison Stitt claims that her experiences have pushed her over the edge to the point where she is unable to control her emotions.

She was visiting her father in South Africa for his 90th Birthday, when South Africa was placed on the UK's redlist.

It took several days to arrange a return flight on the same day that a quarantine room was available. While they waited, they had to stay longer at their AirBnB. They also had to re-book their car rental while they waited.

She and David are now at a Gatwick hotel.

Alison claims that the cost of their extended stay in South Africa, as well as paying for their quarantine facility was at least PS5,500.

"It was just one expense after the other. All of it is going on credit cards. This was meant to be a "budget trip".

She described the quarantine experience as a joke. After landing, we were escorted into coaches. We were lucky to land at Gatwick. Some of our passengers were heading to Manchester.

Alison claims her room is modern and clean, but she feels unsafe in the hotel. She says she has seen guards wearing masks while sneezing.

Due to a fire alarm, the hotel had to be evacuated.

"We are aware of someone who has been positive at the hotel. They came back to retest us and said that we had been exposed during the fire alarm to Covid.

She claims that the food is not good for health.

"We have complained. It is absolutely not worth all the money we have to spend.

"Everything comes with paper bags and plastic bags. We're washing our plates in the sink next to our loo.

She said that red list rules could be changed or lifted.

It is a complete mockery. We are desperate to get this money back from government.

CTM is the booking agency that travelers must go through in order to book hotel quarantine.

The company stated that thousands of travelers had booked successfully since the recent red list changes. The Managed Hotel Quarantine Programme hotel operators are responsible for providing the best service experience at all hotels.

"CTM works closely with the Department of Health and Social Care and any other relevant parties to ensure that transfers, accommodation and testing are increased in accordance with their capacity as soon as possible.

"We understand that returning UK citizens can find it stressful to enter managed hotel quarantine. We are committed to offering support to anyone who needs it, given the few points of contact they have during the quarantine process."



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