Bath woman says she was 'treated as if she had leprosy' in UK quarantine hotel

Fernanda Russomano Ashcroft said she locked herself in her hotel room as she was too scared to go out. Credit: BPM Media

A woman from Bath has spoken out about her experience in a quarantine hotel which she claims saw her treated as if "she had leprosy".

Fernanda Russomano Ashcroft, 49, from Weston in Bath, flew to Brazil on 9 September to care for her 85-year-old mother who has had four mini-strokes since the start of the pandemic.

After her return to the UK, she quarantined in a Swindon hotel and claims she was treated like a "criminal".

She said: "I had to stay in a quarantine hotel against my will, despite being double vaccinated and having had 14 negative lateral flow tests and three negative PCR tests, some of which after my arrival."

She went to Brazil on 9 September until 23 September and says she quarantined for the entire time as is required by the Brazilian government.

Ms Ashcroft had applied for a quarantine exemption to be given when she arrived back in the UK, but it was denied.

She said: "Throughout this process not a single communication has been signed with someone's full name, only job titles and once a first name, Dan from Test and Trace, and my full personal details have been given out over and over again."

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said "every single request is carefully considered on a case-by-case basis" but said they do not comment on individual cases.

Ms Ashcroft continued: "Upon my arrival at Bristol Airport, Border Force - as well as the chaperone who was there to ensure that I didn't escape - wanted to send me home for my quarantine due to my fully vaccinated status and several negative Covid tests.

"However, even they have the same problem - no named person or a direct telephone line to someone who could make that decision, so I had to be sent to a quarantine hotel."

She claims she was transported to the hotel in a "dirty van" with a "mask-less driver and chaperone".

Speaking of her experience once she arrived, she said: "The government representative at the hotel said that they were not physically holding me here, however, if I tried to escape he would immediately call the police and I would be fined £10,000.

"I then asked for the full breakdown of my £2,285 bill, but the government representative at the hotel said they couldn't provide it as this is a government scheme."

She says she also contacted the hotel quarantine management company - CTM - about this bill, but heard nothing.

"The £2,285 has certainly not been spent on my stay. The hotel is cheap, the food poor and the transport was extremely poor as described above."

Ms Ashcroft says she was escorted to her room by security guards which made her feel like a "criminal".

"I then locked myself in my room as I was too scared to go out", she added.

MP Wera Hobhouse. Credit: PA

Wera Hobhouse, Liberal Democrat MP for Bath said: "My team and I worked very hard to encourage the government to allow Fernanda a compassionate exemption from quarantine.

"In all but one case, we had no response. It's very disappointing to hear about the way Fernanda was treated and my heart goes out to her in what must be an extremely sad and distressing situation.

"Pragmatism and compassion must be shown in exceptional circumstances like this. I send my best wishes to Fernanda and her mother."

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “We recognise and empathise with the huge impact restrictions have on many people and the managed quarantine scheme, which is designed to protect the public, includes a number of specific and limited exemptions on compassionate or medical grounds.

“Every single request is carefully considered on a case-by-case basis and we always try to balance the needs of the person applying with our top priority of protecting the public from Covid and importing variants.”

The hotel has been approached for a comment.