August 12, 2021, 00:04 | Updated: Aug 12, 2021, 12:09 AM
A law firm representing travelers affected by Britain’s quarantine hotel policy has called the requirement an “unlawful deprivation of liberty” as it seeks judicial review.
London-based PGMBM believes that requiring people who have been fully vaccinated and recently tested negative for the coronavirus to spend 11 nights in a hotel violates their human rights and constitutes “unlawful deprivation of liberty”.
The law firm said “prisoners have a right to more freedom” than those forced to self-quarantine in hotels.
It comes after the cost of staying in a quarantine hotel dropped from £ 1,750 to £ 2,285 on Thursday.
Travelers arriving in the UK from a Red List country – like Mexico, Pakistan, Turkey and much of South America – must enter a quarantine hotel, even if they received both doses of a Covid-19 vaccine.
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There are currently 60 redlisted locations following the government’s latest update to its international travel rules.
Tom Goodhead, Managing Partner of PGMBM, said: “Mandatory quarantine in hotels is a fundamental human rights violation. It has led to false imprisonment of people who have been fully vaccinated and tested negative.
“Prisoners have a right to more freedom than those forced to quarantine themselves in hotels.
“We have all heard of the horrific experiences of some people in these hotels. We want this draconian policy to be dropped and those affected to be properly compensated.”
Mr Goodhead said Ireland and Norway – the only other European countries with a mandatory quarantine “involving detention” – have changed their programs so that fully vaccinated travelers are exempted.
“The UK must immediately follow suit,” he added.
PGMBM would not disclose the identity of its clients with respect to the legal challenge – but said they include people in the UK who wish to visit family in a Red List country and others who have stayed in one of the hotels before.
“They often travel for emergency or urgent reasons and would only travel if they deemed it absolutely necessary,” explained Mr. Goodhead.
There have been numerous complaints about the hotels, including the harassment of women by male security guards and the quality of the food.
PGMBM wrote a letter to the government about the hotel quarantine policy and said it was seeking judicial review.
He wrote that the current regulations are “not proportionate” and “not necessary”.
Seven countries were added to the government’s green travel list on Sunday, with France also dropping its puzzling “orange watch list” status.
Read more: Fully vaccinated arrivals from France no longer have to self-isolate as travel rules change
The step aligns France with the rest of the Orange List, where those who are fully vaccinated with an approved vaccine and administered in the UK, US or Europe, do not need to quarantine themselves at their arrival in England.
Georgia, Mexico, Reunion Island and Mayotte have all been added to the red list to ensure the rollout of national vaccines, the government said.
Changes to international travel rules for those returning to the UK come after the government lifted the quarantine for fully vaccinated travelers from the US and much of Europe.
Hundreds of families were able to reunite after several months of interval following the changes.