Quarantine hotel chaos: Passengers who had ‘no idea’ about travel ban land at Heathrow are hit with £500 fines before being escorted to hotels and told they can’t leave for 10 days and must pay £1,750
- First travellers taking part in the new UK hotel quarantine scheme arrived this morning at London Heathrow
- Touched down in the UK from variety of Covid red list countries including the UAE, Zambia and South Africa
- Comes amid warnings arrivals at Britain’s busiest airport may have to queue for up to five hours at the border
- No protocols are in place to segregate passengers from the 33 high-risk countries from lower-risk arrivals
- Scotland is applying hotel quarantine scheme to visitors from every foreign destination in tougher approach
- ** Are you arriving in the UK today and having to quarantine in a hotel? Email firstname.lastname@example.org **
PUBLISHED: 09:22, 15 February 2021 | UPDATED: 17:33, 15 February 2021
RULES FOR ENTERING BRITAIN
- You cannot enter the UK if you’ve been in or through a country on the banned travel list (known as the ‘red list’) in the last 10 days, unless you’re British, Irish or you have the right to live in the UK.
- Those travelling to England must take two coronavirus (COVID-19) tests after arriving in the country – these will need to be booked before travel
- You must either quarantine in the place you’re staying or in a managed quarantine hotel for 10 days when you arrive in England
- What you need to do depends on where you travel in the 10 days before you arrive in England
- If you travel in or through a country on the banned travel list in the 10 days before you arrive in England, you will need to quarantine in a managed quarantine hotel
- If you do not travel in or through a country on the banned travel list in those 10 days you will need to quarantine in the place you’re staying.
- You need to provide your journey and contact details in the 48 hours before you arrive in the UK. You must do this by completing the online passenger locator form
- You’ll need to show proof that you’ve completed the form when you arrive at the UK border
- You must have proof of a negative coronavirus test to travel to the UK – even if you’re a UK citizen
- If your test result is positive you must not travel. You must follow the local coronavirus rules and guidance
- The test must be taken in the three days before you depart. The results must be in English, French or Spanish
- You’ll need to show the test results when you check in to travel or board your plane, train or ferry. You may also be asked to show them when you arrive
- You could be fined £500 when you arrive at the border if you cannot provide proof that you have had a negative coronavirus test.
- You do not need a test if you’re travelling within the UK, the Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey; from Ireland; from Ascension, Falkland Islands or St Helena; and children under 11 do not need a test.
- There are other reasons you might not need a test, for example, having a job on the ‘exempt jobs’ list’; travelling to the UK for medical reasons; travelling from a country where you cannot access testing facilities
A Heathrow arrival today claimed to have ‘no idea’ about the new hotel quarantine scheme before being hit with a £500 fine and told to pay £1,750 for 10 days’ isolation.
British businessman Wayne Kelly said he had not heard about the new rules for high-risk countries before he was handed a note by Border Force warning him to expect a penalty for breaching Covid laws.
Meanwhile, others slammed ‘ridiculous’ rules confining them to their rooms despite having mixed with travellers not on the ‘red list’ during the flight home.
Travellers were dropped off at hotels near London Heathrow Airport as the new scheme began and a hospitality boss vowed to make their ten-day stay more ‘homely’ with ‘branded shampoo, puzzles and crockery’.
Dozens of passengers were seen arriving by coach at the four-star Radisson Blu Edwardian after touching down in the UK from a variety of Covid red list countries including the United Arab Emirates, Zambia and South Africa.
Guests will pay £1,750 per person for the 11 nights, plus an additional £650 for anyone over the age of 12 and £325 for children aged between five and 12. There will be no extra fees for children under five.
Throughout their stay guests will have to eat airline-style food left at their door, change their own sheets and towels and be accompanied by security if they want fresh air or a cigarette outside.
The Radisson offers spacious and airy rooms with large windows, Egyptian cotton linen and goose down pillows – although confined guests will be unable to enjoy its spa or choice of three restaurants. Standard rooms cost around £150 a night while superior suites include their own Nespresso machine.
Other passengers who landed in Britain today from ‘red list’ Covid countries were met by a team of five marshals in high vis jackets stood outside the international arrival doors at Gatwick’s North Terminal to chaperone them to a bus, parked just beyond the terminal doors that would then take them to nearby hotel the Copthorne near Crawley.
It is thought an estimated 17 passengers on a flight from Madrid came from red list countries such as Portugal or Brazil and landed at Gatwick at 4.10pm.
Ana Torres, 31, from north London, flew from Brazil via the Spanish capital and arrived at Gatwick in West Sussex this afternoon. While being escorted to the bus, Ms Torres said: ‘It makes me feel really bad actually. Because I have to spend 10 days in a room on my own. Read More
‘I would rather be at home with my family. I had to ask four friends to lend me the money to pay for this. ‘I’m going to be speaking to people on the phone all the time, that’s the only way I can cope.’
Earlier today a flight from Ukraine arrived with only between 15 and 25 passengers on board.
Only three flights arrived at Gatwick today, including one from Kiev and another from Madrid.
According to the government website, travellers cannot currently enter UK ‘if you have been in or through a country on the red list of 33 counrties in the last 10 days, unless you are British, Irish or have the right to live in UK’.
In other Covid developments today:
- Ministers discussed plans to allow for shops to re-open, families to be re-united and self-catering staycations to be given the go ahead if Covid-19 infection rates continue to plummet amid the vaccine rollout;
- Matt Hancock hailed Britain’s 15million Covid vaccine milestone but said there was ‘no rest for the wicked’ as England officially moves on to the next phase of its roll-out;
- Travel industry campaign group, called Save Our Summer, has demanded international travel is allowed to resume from May 1;
- Pub bosses dismissed proposals to allow customers in beer gardens only as ‘laughable’ and called on ministers to let them fully reopen their doors in April;
- MPs demanded ministers publish an assessment of the economic impact of different routes out of lockdown;
- Downing Street slapped down Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab after he suggested people could have to show vaccine passports before being allowed into shops and restaurants.
British businessman Wayne Kelly was warned he faces a £500 fine after landing at Heathrow today from a trip to Dubai without booking a quarantine hotel +73
A guest gives a thumbs down gesture to members of the media from the window of the Radisson Blu near Heathrow today+73
The Renaissance Hotel – which overlooks the Heathrow runway – is one of those open to quarantine travellers. Pictured is a graphic of some of the additions available for guests
Mr Kelly, from Birmingham, said: ‘I didn’t know what this is all about and I still don’t understand it. I came in from Dubai. I’ve now got a pay £1,750 to stay in a hotel.
‘And this letter they’ve given me says I could be fined another £500. I’m trying to work and make a living. It’s a terrible way to treat people.’
Mr Kelly, who works in property, claimed he hadn’t been reading the papers or watching TV and knew nothing of the new quarantine rules.
‘The first I realised I was going to be in this trouble was when I got off the plane,’ he said. ‘Now I’ve got this nightmare of being put into a hotel when I’ve actually got a home in Birmingham with my family.
‘I was in Dubai last month when I got back I quarantined at home with no problem. I should be allowed to do that again.’
‘This is just ridiculous. My wife was going to pick me up so I wouldn’t be mixing in public anyway. I don’t believe this is happening.
- Hotel quarantine plan in chaos just hours before first…Is THIS where travellers will be forced to quarantine for 10…Matt Hancock says there’s ‘no rest for the wicked’ as all…
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‘And if they’re starting to put us up in hotels now, why didn’t they do this last year? New Zealand and Australia and places like that have virtually beaten the virus. This is a little bit too late and too cruel if you ask me.’
Meanwhile, a Brazilian couple criticised the hotel quarantine system after revealing how they were mingling with other travellers not from ‘red list’ countries while flying back to London. Wagner Araujo, 43, arrived at Heathrow via Madrid with his wife Elaine, 40, following a trip to Brazil where they went to visit a sick relative.
After being escorted onto a coach at Heathrow to be taken to the nearby Radisson Blu hotel, where the couple will have to remain in quarantine for ten days, Mr Arajuo told MailOnline: ‘The system is ridiculous.
‘It doesn’t make sense. I was on the flight from Madrid surrounded by other passengers who were not from red list countries. How can that be safe and a good way to prevent coronavirus from spreading? We are all mixing on the plane and then I’m made to go into quarantine.’
The couple travelled to Brazil on January 11. They set off for their journey back to the UK from Sao Paulo last night and then had a two-hour stop-over in Madrid before boarding their London flight.
Mrs Araujo said: ‘There were mainly British people on the flight back from Madrid but lots of other nationalities. We were all in a queue together waiting to board the flight and were sitting right beside them.
33 ‘high-risk’ nations from which arriving travellers will have to quarantine in hotels
Democratic Republic of the Congo
Portugal (including Madeira and the Azores)
United Arab Emirates (UAE)
‘While we were waiting to get off the plane, we were all in the same queue, shoulder to shoulder. What is the point of us going into quarantine now? It’s insane and I don’t understand it at all.’
Mr Araujo revealed that they were only separated from other passengers once they had disembarked the plane at Heathrow and were then sent to a special immigration counter for those arriving from red list countries.
After about an hour, he and his wife were escorted out of the terminal building and onto a waiting coach. Mr Araujo has lived in London for the past 20 years with his wife. He works as a removal man while she is a secretary.
He fumed that he did not have the money to pay for his quarantine hotel, which will cost him £3,500 for him and his wife and is also concerned about their four children, who did not travel to Brazil but remained with a relative in London.
The children are aged six, nine, ten and 17 are being looked after by an older cousin.
Mr Araujo said: ‘The company that I work for has been badly affected by the pandemic and business is really slow. I was able to book the hotel but fortunately, you don’t have to pay the money up front.
‘I don’t know how I’m going to find the money, it is a lot for me. I’m going to have to speak to the authorities because I can’t afford to pay for this hotel. Financially, things are very hard for me at the moment, as they are for a lot of people.
He added: ‘We’re also worried about our kids. We’ve been desperate to see them but now are going to have to wait even longer, because they won’t be able to visit us for the next ten days.
‘I realise that the Government needs to take as many precautions as it can, but I don’t think they’ve thought this system out very well. If you are going to make people quarantine, then it should be everybody who is coming from abroad.’
Roger Goncalves, 23, from Belo Horizonte in Brazil, was staying at the Radisson.
He said over the phone: ‘I’m feeling sad, it’s not good as I need to stay in the room for 10 days. I did my test for coronavirus. The test was negative. Why do I need to stay in my room for 10 days?’
Mr Goncalves, who lives in London and works as a delivery driver, said he had flown into the capital from Sao Paolo, via Madrid in Spain.
He said he was staying in his room with a friend called Andressa, while his uncle and aunt were in another room.
Roger Goncalves said the £1,750 cost of his stay was ‘too high’ and ‘crazy for 10 days’.
Asked about conditions in the hotel, he described his room as ‘not bad’ and said he had been told food will be left at his door.
He added: ‘The people in the hotel will give food to me for lunch and dinner, everything, but I can’t go out. That’s crazy.’
He said he arrived at the hotel on a bus carrying six people, which included those travelling with him.
Asked how he will spend the time in his room, Mr Goncalves said he would ‘watch TV, watch Netflix’.
He explained he had tried to fly back to the UK on February 11 but his airline had cancelled his flight.
Mr Goncalves said he thought about not travelling, but added: ‘I need to come back to work. I need to work.’ +73
Roger Goncalves, 23, from Belo Horizonte in Brazil, was staying at the Radisson. He said over the phone: ‘I’m feeling sad, it’s not good as I need to stay in the room for 10 days. I did my test for coronavirus. The test was negative. Why do I need to stay in my room for 10 days?’ +73
Passengers arriving at Heathrow’s Terminal 5 are escorted by security personal to buses this morning on their way to a hotel +73
Security escort passengers as they arrive at a hotel near London Heathrow Airport to begin a ten-day quarantine period+73
A coach delivers passengers to the Radisson Blu Edwardian Hotel, near Heathrow Airport, where dozens of quarantine guests will stay +73
A Brazilian couple criticised the hotel quarantine system after revealing how they were mingling with other travellers not from ‘red list’ countries while flying back to London. Wagner Araujo, 43, arrived at Heathrow via Madrid with his wife Elaine (pictured together), 40, following a trip to Brazil where they went to visit a sick relative