The British government’s announcement that travelers from 33 countries, including Brazil, would go through mandatory quarantine in hotels, forcing Brazilians to rush to advance return flights to UK. The measure had been speculated by UK media for a few days, but was only confirmed by the UK Department for Health and Welfare on Friday 5th, and will be valid from 15.
Digital content creator Fernanda Guimarães, 27, came to Brazil with her husband to spend the holidays with his family. When the country closed the border for direct flights with the UK on December 24, Fernanda decided to extend her stay to take advantage of her vacation. However, on Instagram, she started receiving messages about rumors of mandatory quarantine at hotels.
With the flight postponed to February 9, Fernanda kept an eye on the news until she was surprised by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s statement on January 27 in which he spoke of the action that would be taken. “We were very anxious,” he recalls. “Despite the news, we didn’t know when this would go into effect. We were worried that February 9 was too late.
Fernanda and her husband rushed to take the PCR test and postponed the flight to February 2, with a stopover in Madrid. “It was very tense to arrive here (in London). The flight was very crowded, with many Brazilians and a lot of document checks, ”he said. Arriving in the UK, it took 1.5 hours of a line to complete the whole process, which she considers quick, given the number of people.
Now Fernanda will have to comply with a 10 day quarantine. “We have already received a message and a call from the government explaining the rules and taking all measures,” he said, happy to be able to stay at home.
The stress was a bit greater for Fernanda Bispo, 35. Residing in London for almost 12 years, the Sales Manager decided to take advantage of the extra time in Brazil, as there was the flexibility of the home office. “In no rush to come back, I will enjoy the sun, the warmth and the family. After all, when will I get this opportunity again? “, Did she say.
About two weeks ago, Fernanda started to worry about the mandatory quarantine rumors and turned to friends who work in hotels in the UK to verify the information. However, it wasn’t until after Johnson’s announcement that she started planning an immediate return home.
“I bought a ticket for Saturday February 6. But it freaked me out and tried to change the date. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday were full of flights and I saw it was going to happen, everyone wanted to leave. I got it for Thursday 4th, with a stopover in Madrid, ”he said. “I understand that they have to do it, but it was the fear of not having given a date. When I saw that February 15 was confirmed, I was already at the airport. Fernanda says her traveling friends are also rushing to London. “No one wants to be locked up in a hotel.”
Flights rescheduled three times
Advertising manager Flávia Rocha, 31, had to change airlines and reschedule her flight three times to return to the UK. “My flight would have a stopover in Portugal, but I assumed it would be canceled when the borders were closed. I had no assistance from the airline and had to buy another ticket, ”says Flávia.
With the flight scheduled for February 8, the Brazilian has started to see more and more information about mandatory quarantine at hotels. “From the government’s record, I thought it would take about two weeks for this to be confirmed, so I knew I had to anticipate my flight,” he says.
The first rescheduling took place on February 1, but she would make a stopover in Amsterdam and the Netherlands had closed the border with the UK. The company changed the date to day 3, but the PCR test, which is mandatory to enter the country, was not ready on time. Finally, she managed to schedule the return for February 4, with a stopover in Paris. “It was complicated, but everything went well.”
The three Brazilians reported the rigidity of document verification upon arrival in the UK. Having a UK or EU passport doesn’t make any difference – everyone goes in the same queue to report to officers. A negative PCR test, proof of residency and a government form, the locate form, are required. They also report that people coming from any of the 33 countries on the travel ban list are being directed to another room for documentary checks.
“They look at everything and ask why you have traveled, why you are coming back. But, with me, they were very polite and kept saying that I wasn’t doing anything wrong because, usually, when they send you to this room, it’s because they are going to kick you out, ”jokes Fernanda. Bispo. “They just needed to check that everything was okay.”
For Flávia, it is important that travelers arrive at the airport with official information. “I felt very unprepared. I’ve seen people complain online, but you need to be prepared. My advice is that if you come back the best place to check out what you need is the official UK government website. I also recommend taking any printed materials you can’t rely on the internet from the airport. ”
People with domestic ties won’t need to be quarantined in the hotel at every stopping point, but even those who have had the virus or who have already received the vaccine will need to undergo isolation, says The independent. Also according to the newspaper, Transportation Secretary Grant Shapps has ruled out the possibility of government financial assistance, which involves paying accommodation costs by the traveler himself.
According to the British government, more details on how passengers will be able to make reservations for designated accommodation will be defined next week. There is no forecast for the completion of this new measure.