'It's just inedible': Travellers express outrage at high cost and poor quality of quarantine hotels

Kate and Alex Freed have complained about the poor quality of their service. Credit: PA

Holidaymakers and travellers have complained about their forced hotel quarantine at their own expense after several African countries were moved onto the red list at late notice.

Last week several southern African countries were added to the red list after South Africa reported the discovery of the Omicron variant.

The sudden speed of the announcement forced many people to try and rush home, which in turn led to problems at airports making the journey even harder.

Travellers returning from red list countries originally faced a cost of £1,750 to quarantine in a hotel when the scheme was first announced in February.

The price has now risen to £2,285 for the 11-night stay.

Many people caught up in the situation have reacted with outrage online at the sudden cost put on them and the unorganised and unappetising situation they have been forced into.

In a now-deleted Instagram post actor Richard E. Grant complained about the cost of his quarantine.

He said: "Visited my 90 yr old Mum in Southern Africa & caught by Red region restrictions. A week of multiple cancelled flights then 10 days quarantine.

"2 Covid tests and security costs included, but why does the food have to be so grim at a compulsory cost of £228 per day? Feels punishing!"

Emily Mennie and Owen Hancock launched a petition calling for people returning from red list countries to complete their quarantine at home.

The actor has retweeted a petition calling for the government to allow fully vaccinated people returning from red list countries to complete their quarantine at home.

On Monday, Owen Hancock, 35, and Emily Mennie, 30, were due to enter hotel quarantine on their return from a break in South Africa.

The couple had been visiting Ms Mennie's family for the first time since the start of the pandemic.

When they finally managed to book a flight home they were told hotel quarantine was full and they would have to reschedule their flights and PCR tests - all at their own cost.

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They are now facing more than £4,000 in costs.

They have set up an online petition calling for the government to cover the costs when travellers are caught in a similar sitation.

Ms Mennie said: “This ridiculous and unjustifiable policy was re-introduced with no prior warning, no ability for us to get home, and then to add insult to injury we were unable to get a room.

Food served to Kate Freed in the quaratine hotel. Credit: PA

“The government’s handling of this has been shambolic and that’s evident from the number of people who have signed our petition and call on the Prime Minister to rethink.”

They are backing a case brought by law firm PGMBM who on Thursday will seek permission at the High Court for a judicial review of the government’s mandatory hotel quarantine policy.

Kate and Alex Freed, 29 and 30 years old respectively have just returned from their honeymoon to South Africa and have been in quarantine for three days.

The area the Freed's are allowed to walk in while in quarantine. Credit: PA

They said it took almost six hours to get from the plane at Heathrow to their hotel, the Holiday Inn Express at Heathrow Terminal 4.

“They put us onto a bus for the 30-second journey, but we were on the bus for three hours”, Alex explained.

“We were on a bus full of people, (with) no ventilation.

“It was the most unorganised mess ever. People were crying. It just seemed like something from a film, it was a bit mad,” he added.

After arriving at the hotel itself, the pair said they had food and other supplies delivered by their family, because the hotel food is “inedible”.

“You’re paying serious money and… it’s not substantial meals. Half the time it’s cold, half the time it’s just inedible”, Alex said.