Covid quarantine process in the UK is riskier than being in a ‘red list’ country | Letter

I have been an NHS doctor for 18 years and recently had to go to a “red list” country to look after my ill mother. I feel that there is a greater risk of catching Covid when returning to the UK than in a red list country.

We landed in the UK at 5am on a crowded flight, which had lots of children travelling as well. Adults need a negative Covid test 72 hours before their flight, but children are not tested.

On arrival, we were herded to a corner, with no social distancing, and stayed there for five hours. I pointed out the crowded area to the authorities and was told that we were in a bubble. How can a planeload of people be treated as a bubble?

Finally, around 10am, we were put on a bus to be taken to our quarantine hotel. But the bus first went to another terminal and picked up more passengers who had travelled from another red list country. So we were in a “bubble” of two different flights and countries in the bus.

We reached our hotel around noon, but due to a lengthy registration process of just two passengers at a time, we spent two more hours in the bus. We asked to stand outside in the parking lot, but were not allowed to. Passengers had to sit less than a foot apart in the bus for hours.

At the hotel, security staff seemed to have very basic training – for example, the person bringing us hand gel had their mask below their nose, personnel who delivered food and Covid tests did not change their gloves or use hand gel when moving from room to room.

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Now, someone has tested positive, which is worrying, as we were forced to stay in a confined space for long periods. If we were allowed to go home it would have been safer, as I have had five negative PCR test in the past 10 days.
Muhammad Asif



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