Hotel quarantine guests complain of rights abuses at ‘HM Prison Heathrow’

Police called after travellers refuse to return to their rooms

A guest in Britain’s hotel quarantine system complained that the mandatory isolation breaches their human rights.

Another guest compared the 10-day quarantine to a stay in “HM Prison Heathrow”, while other home-made signs read “what a way to spend your birthday” and “next time I’m coming home in a dinghy via Dover”.

Others summed up the experience with a thumbs-down to photographers outside the hotel.

Passengers arriving in the UK from a so-called red list of 33 countries – which includes the UAE, southern Africa and all of South America – are forced to pay up to £1,750 ($2,840) to self-isolate in a quarantine hotel.

Border Force director Paul Lincoln said just 1 per cent of arrivals in the UK were going into hotel quarantine.

He said about 150 of the 15,000 daily arrivals were transferred to the government-managed accommodation.

“The number of people who have gone in is relatively small,” he told MPs. The bulk of UK arrivals were hauliers, he said and that there were about 1,200 people currently in the hotels.

The government contracted 16 hotels for the programme, with 4,600 rooms secured, Heath Secretary Matt Hancock said.

On Wednesday, police had to be called to the Radisson Blu hotel near London Heathrow Airport after some travellers refused to return to their rooms after going outside for approved exercise time.

Wayne Kelly, who returned from Dubai, said the hotel guests got into a dispute with security guards.

“The atmosphere had got a bit heavy as some of the guys were not going to their rooms and saying they were being treated like prisoners,” he told the Daily Mail.

“So I joined in and stayed out. It was all a bit ridiculous. But people are fed up of this. Our human rights are being abused. We should be allowed out 24/7 to get some air, especially when it is a lovely day.”

The police were called but soon left after the guests returned to their rooms, he said.

Anyone who leaves hotel quarantine before the end of the 10 days could be fined up to £10,000.

Updated: February 26, 2021 03:11 PM

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