'I could lie': James O'Brien caller dismisses the UK's quarantine hotel scheme

5 February 2021, 12:13

By Fiona Jones

This caller has just come back from the UAE - he tells James O'Brien he doesn't believe the UK's hotel quarantine plan will work because he "can't see how it can be enforced."

It was announced by the Government on Thursday that the hotel quarantine scheme would go live from 15 February.

There needs to be an estimated 28,000 hotel rooms across the country used for incoming travellers from "red list" countries to quarantine for 10 days to avoid potentially spreading a Covid variant in the UK.

Read more: Minister defends quarantine hotel plan but refuses to comment on number of rooms booked

Caller Andrew from Knightsbridge told James he does not believe the plan will work as he "can't see how it can be enforced."

The caller recently returned from Abu Dhabi via Germany: "Because I'm honest I said I'd just flown in from the United Arab Emirates which is on the list. I could've easily have lied and said no I didn't, because all you have to do is tick a form.

"At the moment there's a form that says have you been in any of these countries and you tick it. I don't really know how they can [check]."

James pointed out that "there will be costs" to being honest about travel history: "Come February 15, when you do that, you are signing up for 11 days out of action and a minimum £1000 bill."

Andrew said, "I can't see how they can enforce it...I don't think legally they can tap into other countries' immigration systems and see where this person's been on route to the UK."

James reflected, "They can't win now because if they can, why the hell haven't they been doing it sooner, and if they can't, why the hell can't they?"

Read more: Minister 'doesn't know' if passports will be stamped to avoid quarantine cheating