A woman has said she was left “distressed” after she was served soggy food and given 15 minutes of fresh air a day at a quarantine hotel that cost £1,750.
Tracey Smith, from Grimsby, moved to Dubai in February of this year to see out lockdown with her husband Jim, who has lived in the country for the past two years.
She held off returning for as long as she could because the country was on the red list, but was eventually forced to fly back as her home was due to be sold, reports Grimsby Live.
In line with government policy, the couple booked into the Courtyard by Marriott London City Airport for 11 nights when they arrived on May 11.
They had both already had two Covid vaccinations and two tests they took came back negative.
But the husband and wife were forced to endure “cold, wet” food and limited exposure to fresh air as they waited out the quarantine period, Tracey says.
She said: “The room had windows but I couldn’t open them so it felt as though we couldn’t get any proper ventilation entering the room.
“The room was very clean, not exactly huge, but manageable to live in.”
But what made the experience of the stay worse was the quality of the food.
She claims she started to have stomach problems which caused her to be bloated.
She said: “It was the lack of nutrients in the meals provided.
“The food on offer at the hotel was shocking and caused me serious distress.”
Tracey said the food was “often cold, wet and small in portion size which made it difficult to digest properly”.
The rules meant they could only go outside of the hotel building for 15 minutes of fresh air at a time and sometimes this wasn’t even possible if the hotel was busy.
Tracey said: “It was impossible to do any exercise in our room and the best we could manage was walking around the building when we were allowed fresh air, and this was under close supervision from security guards.
“We must have looked ridiculous but we had no choice because we needed to let off steam somehow for being stuck in a room for almost 23 hours of the day, laying on a bed.”
Tracey believes the Government has played a big role in complicating travel for thousands of people during lockdown.
She said she felt more exposed to Covid-19 as a result of being in close proximity to other people from red, amber and green listed countries whilst she was transitioning at London City Airport.
She said: “People only see the government doing good by placing people into quarantine, which I fundamentally believe in, but the system just does not work.
“The government made this mess possible and are painting a false picture to the public of what is happening to people like me and my husband.
“But people don’t understand the experience of having to do this [isolate in an expensive hotel] and the huge stress it creates on people.”
The Department of Health and Social Care have said people could be fined up to £10,000, imprisoned for up to 10 years, or both if they do not provide accurate details about the countries they have visited in the last 10 days of re-entry into the UK.
The DoHSC also say that people will be fined up to £10,000 if they break quarantine rules.
The Marriott chain of hotels has been approached for comment.