A young family returning to the UK after four years in Abu Dhabi said travelers should not be used as “guinea pigs” due to confused hotel quarantine rules.
Starting tomorrow, UK nationals or residents returning to England from 33 Red List countries will have to spend 10 days in government-appointed accommodation. The cost for one person is £ 1,750.
Travelers must arrive at specific airports which include Birmingham Airport, Heathrow, Gatwick, London City and Farnborough Airport.
The regulations were published just days before the system went into effect, reports the mirror.
Beckie Morris, 30, planned to return to the UK with husband Matthew and their five-week-old daughter, but they now face a quarantine bill of thousands of pounds if they do.
The new mother said there was “no information” about the government website about what to do with young children.
She said, “I tried to get in touch and I know it’s very early, but there just isn’t any information. You haven’t really set out what actually happens when you come to this hotel and I don’t think so that this will be known by the time the first person goes in there.
“Humans shouldn’t be used as guinea pigs – especially if they don’t pay that amount, it’s an extortionate amount of money.”
The couple, both paramedics, planned to return to Kent, where Mr. Morris was offered a job.
Ms. Morris said the hotel quarantine announcement “brought her to tears most nights”.
She said the family would be “stranded” in the UAE if they did not return as both of them quit their jobs, but delays in obtaining passports for their daughter meant they could not have come home earlier.
Not everyone who returns has been on vacation abroad, she added.
“They seem to be punishing us and forgetting that there is a really big ex-pat community out there who are really in trouble.”
Passengers arriving at the “accepted ports of entry” will be quarantined in a selected hotel. So far, 16 hotels have registered for the program and offer 4,600 rooms.
In Birmingham, five hotels have signed up for the program – but the government refused to name them, saying it was “commercially sensitive information”.
Anyone who lied about their recent travel history can be imprisoned for up to 10 years. If you are not quarantined at a specific hotel upon arrival from a ‘Red List’ country, you will be fined between £ 5,000 and £ 10,000.
Heathrow Airport said the plan still had “significant loopholes” and border officials had attacked the policy as “Shambolic”.
Ms. Morris said the family would be “stranded” in the UAE if they did not return as both of them quit their jobs, but delays in obtaining passports for their daughter meant they could not get home early .
Mr Morris was vaccinated against Covid-19 and she said the area where they lived in the UAE was “safe and secure”.
A government spokeswoman said: “We are taking critical action at the borders and any significant verification – from pre-flight tests to passenger search forms – will help prevent new variants of coronavirus from being imported into the UK.
“We work closely with airports and hotels to solve problems that arise and to ensure that the new process runs as smoothly as possible. We understand that the safety of all employees and passengers is a priority. “