Boris Johnson 'won't hesitate' in adding countries to red list
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Overseas holidays this year have been touch and go, with many Britons preferring to staycation rather than risk having to cancel their trips last minute. With each Government travel update, holidaymakers have seen their plans change.
One Briton who decided to still go on an overseas holiday is Derek Board.
He spent three weeks in Turkey and had a great time.
From a quarantine hotel, Derek said: “I spent three weeks in Turkey. It was very nice, I was going to stay longer, but I just wanted to get home.”
The 74 years old’s wish to come home had a hefty price tag.
He said: “I couldn’t get on the plane unless I paid £2,280 because the English government said nobody could travel through England unless they paid for this accommodation.”
The accommodation Derek is referring to is mandatory managed quarantine hotels for travellers entering the UK from a red list country.
Turkey is currently on the red list, and Derek had to pay.
Many Britons returning to the UK during the pandemic have had to stay in managed quarantine hotels and the process, while not the most pleasant, is a Government requirement.
However, what should have been straightforward became more complicated when Derek landed in the UK.
“So I had to pay, but luckily enough, when I got to England, on my phone, Nationwide had contacted me to say they hadn’t paid it, because it looked like a dodgy transaction.”
Derek was already in the UK, and he was being transferred to the Crowne Plaza Basingstoke to start his 10 days mandatory quarantine.
With his bank having blocked the payment of his quarantine hotel, Derek tried to speak to someone.
He said: “I haven’t paid it, and I asked to speak to somebody because on the internet it says that there is supposed to be discretion for people who are on benefits.”
There is a mention of “financial hardship” on the Government website’s page on managed quarantine.
The page mentions concerns “about your personal financial matters, or your ability to pay for your stay”, as well the possibility of a “deferred payment plan”.
Derek said: “I’ve asked to speak somebody at the hotel but they just blanked me. They’re not interested to speak to me.”
Express.co.uk reached out to the Department of Health and Social Care, which sent a link to the Government website page about financial hardship.
They also said: “The MQS package should be booked/paid for prior to arriving in the UK.”
Questioned about what happens when a bank blocks the payment, Express was told to contact “CTM – they operate the booking platform”.
CTM is a private company funded in Australia that operates the booking platform.
It is unclear how they can advise on a Briton coming home to Britain and having his quarantine payment blocked by a British bank.
On day three of his quarantine, Derek said: “The hotel is very good, clean and beautiful, the food’s nice but they don’t actually receive the money I don’t think. I think it goes to an agency or whatever and then it goes to the hotel.”
At £228 a day, Derek’s quarantine is more expensive than his three-weeks “holiday, going there and going back from Turkey.”
Derek will come out of quarantine at the end of this week, but whether the issue with his hotel bill will have been sorted by then remains to be seen.
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