Trapped alone in a British COVID-19 quarantine hotel for a 69th birthday

LONDON: Zari Tadayon, who flew into Britain on Monday (Feb 15) from Dubai, will have…

LONDON: Zari Tadayon, who flew into Britain on Monday (Feb 15) from Dubai, will have to spend her 69th birthday alone in a Radisson Blu hotel room in COVID-19 quarantine.

Tadayon, who hails from Greece but has pre-settled status and her family in Britain, flew to Dubai on Jan 22 to deal with some legal matters before Britain brought in its hotel quarantine policy for certain countries including the United Arab Emirates.

Those wishing to return to Britain from a list of high-risk countries have to pay £1,750 (US$2,400) for a 10-day quarantine in a hotel.

“It’s disappointing – it’s quite disappointing,” Tadayon told Reuters from the Radisson Blu at Heathrow. “I’m not sure if I am allowed out – nobody explained anything to me.”

She will celebrate her birthday on Tuesday alone in her room.

“I can’t even see my children on my birthday,” Tadayon said.

“The cost is quite high – I wasn’t prepared for this forced expense. I could have given it to my children or celebrated my birthday nicely with my family for half of that amount or even a quarter of that amount.”

Tadayon said she had to wait for several hours on entry into the country because of teething problems with the quarantine policy.

Britain introduces hotel quarantine programme for arrivals from a "red list" of 30 countr

Zari Tadayon looks through a window of the Radisson Blu Hotel at Heathrow Airport, as Britain introduces hotel quarantine programme for arrivals from a “red list” of 30 countries, in London, Britain, on Feb 15, 2021. (Photo: REUTERS/Hannah McKay)

“The officers at the immigration were not very sort of up-to-date about what they should be doing – we just waited and waited for a hotel,” she said.

She spoke to Reuters while eating a spinach salad and some roast chicken with potatoes. She said that for medical reasons she would have preferred to isolate at home.

“I was in Dubai for three weeks – I needed to attend to some legal matters which were very important. I was not there for a beach holiday.”

Asked what she would do for 10 days, she said: “I don’t know. I don’t have any books with me as I was not prepared. Maybe watch TV and chat with friends and family online. What else can you do?”

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