Many travellers who returned to the U.K. from red listed countries in the past couple of weeks were left out of pocket as they had to pay in excess of £2285 for quarantine at government approved hotels.
Report Focus News spoke to travellers that had paid thousands of pounds to stay in government-approved quarantine hotels, with complaints of chaotic organisation and inedible food during their stays.
One disgruntled traveller expressed her disappointment at the confusion that has left her out of pocket.
Speaking to Report Focus News, Sihle Dube who had traveled to South Africa, said “the rules suddenly changed while I was on holiday in South Africa. I was scheduled to fly back to England just a few days before the outbreak of the Omicron variant was announced. That brought a lot of disruption and chaos not only to my flight itinerary but, it also meant I had to book a hotel before I could rebook my flight. All that left me a couple of thousand pounds out of pocket.”
“What is more upsetting is that after getting back here (England) and after spending all that money the rules changed and countries previously on the red list are not on it anymore. The situation with regards infections and spread of this Omicron is worse than before yet the U.K. government forced us into quarantine, do we get our money back? We have been forced into debt because credit cards had to be used” She fumed.
A government official who spoke to Report Focus News explained the reasoning behind red listing countries.
“The point of putting countries on the red list was to act quickly to slow the spread of Omicron.
Now it has spread in the community, the government doesn’t think putting people from a limited list of countries in hotels is useful.”
In as much as it was welcome news to people with plans to come to the UK from countries like South Africa and Nigeria, or who had delayed their return from those countries.
It is nonetheless frustrating for those who got caught up in the revival of the red list, which only started about a fortnight ago. Some people who have already paid for hotel stays want to see the government pay their costs.
There is slight hope that some travellers may get reimbursed and some may yet get a partial refund.
The British Health Secretary Sajid Javid said he was “very persuaded” by calls to reimburse people and hoped to make an announcement on that soon.