A High Court judge has dismissed an attempted legal challenge against the British government’s hotel quarantine rules for travellers arriving in the country from designated ‘Red List’ countries. Tom Goodhead, a Managing Partner of PGMBM lawyers, believes the hotel quarantine policy is a “fundamental breach of human rights”.
Despite Goodhead’s insistence that hotel quarantine should be abolished, this isn’t the first time that such a legal bid has failed at the very first hurdle. Goodhead said on Thursday that the law firm now planned to take the case to the Court of Appeal.
The controversial Red List was brought back in November after the discovery of the Omicron variant in southern Africa. A slew of countries, including South Africa, were initially added to the list and in recent days Nigeria was also slapped with a Red List travel ban.
Only British citizens and certain visa holders are allowed to travel to the UK from a Red List country and they must then quarantine in a designated government-approved hotel for 10 days. The stay in hotel quarantine costs £2,285 per person.
“We consider the hotel quarantine policy to be a fundamental breach of people’s human rights,” Goodhead said after the latest legal challenge was dismissed.
“Law-abiding citizens who have been double vaccinated and tested negative should be free from hotel quarantine,” he continued. “The idea that they need to pay for the privilege of their own imprisonment is outrageous.”
In written submissions, the law firm argued that locking people in a hotel room was a deprivation of liberty. Lawyers acting on behalf of the British government countered that people staying in hotel quarantine had a choice and chose to travel and then stay in a quarantine hotel.
A High Court judge agreed with the government that the policy was both a necessary and proportionate response to deal with the Omicron variant despite the fact that the variant is not spreading across the UK, as well as multiple other countries that aren’t subject to the same travel restrictions.
In recent days, critics of the policy have described the Red List as the ‘Black List’ because it only targets countries with large black populations, whereas similar travel restrictions haven’t been imposed on countries with Omicron outbreaks that have a majority white population.
Similar criticism has been levelled against the White House over the Biden administration’s continuing travel ban on South Africa.
Sajid Javid, Britain’s health secretary suggested all travel restrictions, including the Red List, pre-departure tests and post-arrival PCR testing might soon be scrapped as the Omicron variant becomes the world’s dominant variant.
Travel restrictions designed to help slow the spread of Omicron will soon become worthless as the variant sweeps across the UK.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.