Loophole Means Passenger Can Leave Scottish Hotel Quarantine After 1 Night

Scotland’s strict quarantine policy requiring practically all international arrivals to isolate in a hotel for ten days came into effect on Monday. However, a loophole in the regulations meant that passengers arriving from the US via Dublin were released from their hotel room after only one day. Instead, the father and daughter can isolate at home, reunited with the girl’s mother after 16 months apart.

Scotland may implement testing on arrival
All international passengers arriving in Scotland must isolate in a hotel for ten days. However, a loophole has made it possible for those arriving via the CTA to get out early. Photo: Getty Images

The first travelers required to quarantine in hotels for ten days upon reaching the UK have begun arriving. This was to be expected after the new, stricter isolation measures came into effect on February 15th. A little more surprising was that two of them would be leaving their room after only one day of stay.

A ‘gap’ in the system

On Monday, Chun Wong and his daughter arrived in Edinburgh from the United States via Dublin and proceeded straight to their hotel to complete their ‘managed isolation.’ Meanwhile, due to what is being called a ‘gap’ in the current system, they did not need to remain for long.

In Scotland, the rule to stay in a designated quarantine hotel applies to all international travelers arriving from all countries outside the Common Travel Area. The CTA includes the rest of the UK, Ireland, Isle of Man, and the Channel Islands. The family members were told on Tuesday that since they arrived via Ireland, they would instead be allowed to isolate at home.

“I received a call from reception saying a gentleman from the airport would like to talk to me,” Mr Wong told BBC Scotland.

“He said that since I landed in Dublin first and then got a connecting flight to here, I was not required to quarantine in a hotel. I still have to quarantine and do the self-testing kit on the second and eighth day, but they said it was an error on their part,” he continued.

Passenger interviewed outside airport
Mr Wong, who had been separated from his wife for 16 months, was interviewed by media when arriving in Edinburgh. Photo: Getty Images

Reunited after 16 months apart

Mr Wong also said that they would have been allowed to leave the hotel on Monday night, but they decided to stay the night as they were tired. Previously interviewed at the airport as he was one of the first arrivals following the new rule, Mr Wong said that he was happy to do whatever it took to make sure everybody was safe.

Chun Wong, his eight-year-old daughter Keirnan, and Keirnan’s mom, Danielle, are among the people who have paid a high price for the transatlantic travel restrictions in place over the past year. Danielle is a front-line worker and had not seen her daughter for 16 months. The loophole must have come as the best surprise ever to the family.

Hotel Quarantine, COVID-19 Tests, Prison
The rest of the UK only requires hotel quarantine for arrivals from ‘red list’ countries. Photo: Getty Images

Costly quarantine in the UK

All British and Irish citizens who arrive in the rest of the UK from one of the 33 countries currently on the ‘red list’ have to quarantine in a hotel for ten days. The cost for the full duration is £1,750. An additional £650 is charged for a second adult sharing the room and £350 for a child.

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This covers accommodation, food, and transportation, as well as the cost of the two home testing kits to be used on days two and eight of the quarantine. Should one of these be positive, it means an additional ten days of hotel isolation.

In Scotland, where, as previously stated, the rules apply to nearly all international arrivals, the government has block-booked six hotels. One is close to Aberdeen Airport, two to Glasgow Airport, and three to Edinburgh Airport. Approximately 1,300 rooms have been made available.

Do you think that the whole of the UK should have the same quarantine rules? Is a hotel quarantine effective at this point? Tell us in the comments. 

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