Travellers say they felt like ‘animals’ and ‘prisoners’ after hotel quarantine release

26 February 2021, 16:06 | Updated: 26 February 2021, 16:09

 Father-of-three Theo Paulse, 39, who lives in Torquay, Devon, had to quarantine in the Radisson Blu Edwardian hotel near Heathrow Airport
Father-of-three Theo Paulse, 39, who lives in Torquay, Devon, had to quarantine in the Radisson Blu Edwardian hotel near Heathrow Airport. Picture: PA

By Harriet Whitehead

Travellers who have become among the first to be released after hotel quarantine have said they were treated like "animals" and "prisoners" during their stay.

From 15 February, anyone arriving from countries on the Government's "red list” have to stay in Government mandated quarantine in hotels - and pay £1,750 for the privilege.

Included in the costs is transport from the airport, two Covid-19 tests, security and food to be delivered to rooms.

Anyone found breaching the rules and skipping quarantine could be fined £10,000 and jailed for 10 years.

READ MORE: Hotel quarantine rules: What are the 'red list' countries and travel fines?

Read more: Who pays for hotel quarantine? How much will it cost?

The first guests to have stayed in the hotels are now getting their first taste of freedom after being released, but some have complained about the costs, and being kept away from family members as they left on Friday.

Father-of-three Theo Paulse, 39, who lives in Torquay, Devon, had to quarantine in the Radisson Blu Edwardian hotel near Heathrow Airport after flying in from South Africa following a family visit.

He said: "For the amount of money they charge, I felt more like a prisoner than actually a guest here.

A quarantined traveller holds a sign up to the window of her room.
A quarantined traveller holds a sign up to the window of her room. Picture: PA

"I had loads of altercations in the end with staff just not knowing how to treat people because the power went to their head.

"They didn't realise they were dealing with guests, they just kind of felt like they've got to treat you like some kind of animal and keep you in these rooms."

READ MORE: UK Covid-19 alert level drops from level 5 to level 4 as threat to NHS recedes

READ MORE: People in their 40s next in line for Covid jabs, with no priority for teachers and police

One woman said it "was not ideal" but she was looking forward to seeing her husband who she had not seen in seven months.

Eritza East, 37, from Southampton, said: "It was not ideal, but it wasn't terrible, I've been in much worse accommodation.

"The accommodation was really big and the beds were really comfy, the only problem was the food wasn't always kid-friendly.

"Other than that the security was really nice and very supportive."

She added: "I'm looking forward to seeing my husband, I haven't seen him in seven months."

The quarantine hotels were brought in over fears Covid variants could be spreading through the country, and anywhere with a known variant outbreak has been put on the list.

Anyone who tests positive for the virus will face an additional £1,200 bill to remain quarantining inside the hotel facility.

Information about the £152 daily cost of longer stays was only published on the Government's website on Monday, after some guests had already checked in.

A positive result from the first test will extend a traveller's stay by two nights at a cost of £304.

If the second test returns a positive reading, the guest must remain in their room for an additional eight nights and pay £1,216.