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‘An unlawful deprivation of liberty’: Travellers launch legal challenge against hotel quarantine policy

Written by on 12/08/2021

A law firm representing international travellers is seeking a judicial review into the UK’s quarantine hotel policy.

Travellers arriving in the UK from a red list country must stay at a government-approved hotel for 11 nights, even if they have had both doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.

But London-based PGMBM is arguing that forcing those who have been fully vaccinated and have recently tested negative is an “unlawful deprivation of liberty” and violates their human rights.

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Passengers were seen heading into the Radisson Blu Edwardian Hotel near Heathrow Airport
Image: Travellers arriving in the UK from a red list country must stay at a government-approved hotel for 11 nights

It comes after the cost of staying in a quarantine hotel rose from £1,750 to £2,285 on Thursday.

PGMBM managing partner Tom Goodhead said: “Mandatory hotel quarantine is a fundamental breach of human rights. It has led to the false imprisonment of people who are fully vaccinated and have tested negative.

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“Prisoners are entitled to more liberty than those forced to quarantine in hotels,” he added.

“We have all read about the horrific experiences of some of the people in these hotels. We want to see this draconian policy scrapped and those affected to be properly compensated.”

Mr Goodhead said Ireland and Norway – the only other European countries with mandatory quarantine “involving detention” – have amended their schemes so fully vaccinated travellers are exempt.

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“The UK must follow suit immediately,” he said.

PGMBM did not disclose the identities of its clients in relation to the legal challenge.

However, it did reveal they include people in the UK who want to visit family in a red list country as well as people who have already undertaken hotel quarantine.

“Many of the people who get in touch with us are not travelling to or from red list countries for holidays or for leisure,” Mr Goodhead said.

“They are often travelling for emergency or urgent reasons and would not be travelling unless they felt it was absolutely necessary.”

Passengers were delivered by coach to the Radisson Blu Edwardian Hotel on 15 February after flying into Heathrow Airport
Image: The government is being asked to exempt fully vaccinated travellers from hotel quarantine

Multiple complaints have been made about the government-approved hotels, including over harassment of female guests by male security guards, and the quality of food.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson responding to claims a traveller found rodents during their stay at a quarantine hotel said: “Our top priority has always been protecting the public and the robust border and testing regime we have in place is helping minimise the risk of new variants coming into the UK.”

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PGMBM has written a letter before to the government over the quarantine hotel policy and said it is seeking a judicial review.

It wrote that the current regulations are “not proportionate” and “not necessary”.

There are currently 60 locations on the red list, such as Mexico, Pakistan, Turkey, and much of South America and Africa.

 Sky News

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