The cost of quarantine for Britons returning from South Africa is delaying some “by a year” financially, as people scramble to avoid the costs.
After the emergence of the Omicron Alternatively, a number of southern African countries were put back on England’s travel red list.
This means that an adult arriving in England must spend at least £ 2,285 on a hotel room for 10 days to self-quarantine.
Things got even more complicated after the UK government stopped direct flights between South Africa and the UK.
However, there is a brief window for those arriving before 4 a.m. on Sunday quarantine at home if they can find a route.
Lavern Fugeti is a dual British and South African citizen who currently resides in the Cape Nation.
She was unable to attend for her sister’s funeral earlier this year due to the previous lockdown, but is now visiting.
She told Sky News about the difficulties those in South Africa are currently facing, with flights canceled and a lack of information.
“I have no idea [what’s happening],” she said.
“Until six o’clock last night, my flight was due to leave on time tonight.
“And then I got a text to say it was now canceled.”
Red List Countries
- South Africa
Ms Fugeti, who is in the countryside with her toddler, has tried to coordinate with her husband in the UK to come up with a plan to bring her home.
But the cost of the hotel stay is a sudden and significant expense – given that flights to South Africa are already expensive.
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“It’s going to set us back probably a year,” Figeti said.
“There wasn’t a lot of information… everyone was falling on their feet because it was coming out of nowhere.”
Some scientists say the flight ban is too little too late, with evidence the variant has already left southern Africa – with cases identified in Hong Kong and Europe.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson held talks with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Friday to discuss ways to reopen travel.
Other countries that are banned from travel are the United States, Canada, Brazil, Australia, EU, United Arab Emirates, Singapore, and Hong Kong.
With flights canceled and stranded, even returning to the UK to quarantine in a hotel is becoming an increasingly difficult task.
Che de Haaf told Sky News she was trying to organize a return to the UK via Zanzibar.
“This appears to be the only country I can possibly return from without paying the £ 2,285 the UK is asking for quarantine,” she said.
Bronwen Cook was also trying to beat the 4 a.m. Sunday deadline to save her money.
She said: “I was happy to see my family, but I want to go home with my husband and children now.”