NHS doctor in quarantine criticises 'appalling' hotel food and costs

Doctor from Yorkshire says he has been 'ripped off in the name of coronavirus'

Dr Sanjay Gupta. Courtesy of Dr Sanjay Gupta
Dr Sanjay Gupta. Courtesy of Dr Sanjay Gupta

An NHS doctor in quarantine at a hotel in London after returning from a visit to his dying father in Kenya has said he is being "fleeced".

Dr Sanjay Gupta has been staying in a government-approved hotel for 10 days at a cost of £1,750 ($2,432).

Dr Gupta told the BBC he has been forced to clean his own room and given small portions of "appalling" food.

Kenya is on the government's coronavirus red list, meaning those travelling from the country have to enter quarantine in a hotel.

Dr Gupta, who lives in South Cave, East Yorkshire, flew to Kenya on March 2 when the country was not on the red list.

But since returning on Friday, he has been in quarantine at the Courtyard by Marriot hotel, near City airport, despite showing negative test results.

Dr Gupta said he was surprised to see small portions of "really ugly meals" being served in a paper bag left outside his room, including "only soup for lunch without any solids".

When he asked the hotel why he could not have any solid food for lunch, he said he was told: "That's how they like it in this country."

"I've lived in this country for 32 years and I've paid £175 a night here," he said. "This seems very paltry to say the least."

Dr Gupta said he had to clean his own room because no service was being provided by the hotel.

"The whole thing has been a little bit difficult for me to digest because of the amount of money that they charge you to book one of these packages," he said.

"I'm being fleeced in the name of coronavirus. We're paying through the nose for this. It's almost as if we're being treated like asylum seekers."

Dr Gupta said the journey from London Heathrow to the hotel took five hours "because it was all really disorganised", with people from different high-risk countries being crammed on a bus with no social distancing.

The bus Dr Sanjay Gupta took to the quarantine hotel. Courtesy of Dr Sanjay Gupta
A view of the bus Dr Sanjay Gupta that was used to transfer Dr Sanjay Gupta to the quarantine hotel.  Courtesy of Dr Sanjay Gupta

The Courtyard by Marriot hotel said it offered "at least three choices for every meal" and was in contact with Dr Gupta "to discuss alternatives and any other ways we can make his quarantine stay as comfortable as possible".

The Department of Health and Social Care said it introduced a "robust border regime" to help minimise new variants of the coronavirus entering the UK.

"The government continues to ensure every person in quarantine gets the support they need and all hotels providing facilities are accommodating the vast majority of people's requirements," the department said.

"Hotels do their utmost to take any necessary steps to address concerns raised by guests."

Updated: May 6, 2021 01:38 AM

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