• Sunday, June 26, 2022


Hotel quarantine exemption: UK government takes more than 3 weeks for first response

Representational image (iStock)

By: Chandrashekar Bhat

A UK woman, seeking exemption from hotel quarantine for her ailing father coming home from Pakistan, had to wait for more than three weeks for the health department’s first response.

After the initial response, the government took another week to grant the exemption, making her furious about the “diabolical” delay in facilitating her father’s desperate travel from the south Asian country.

Sana Choudhry of Balham, London, emailed to the government on June 28, saying her father Mohammed Anwar Choudhry who had been stuck in Pakistan suffered a brain injury following a fall during his visit.

She requested the government to exempt him from the hotel quarantine rule upon his return journey as he was unable to help himself due to dementia he suffered after his fall, according to an iNews report.

As there was no response from the government, Sana, 34, wrote another email on July 5 and two more on July 7 and 12. Anxious to hear from the government, she sent a fifth email on July 21 before the government finally responded and asked her to provide more details.

The exemption she sought for Mohammed Choudhry, 85, who is a retired taxi driver from Birmingham, finally came through on Tuesday (28), the report said.

“It’s diabolical. I have been emailing them on a weekly basis asking if somebody could please respond. I just knew in my heart that I wouldn’t get a response within seven or 14 days… I feel like it’s completely unacceptable that there’s been no communication (for so many days),” Sana told iNews.

In August 2019, Mohammed Choudhry flew to Pakistan, a country he left 60 years ago and was initially scheduled to travel back to the UK in April 2020 but his plan was disrupted by the coronavirus outbreak and a delay in the renewal of his passport.

He suffered a fall and bleeding in his brain in December last year. According to Sana, he cannot help himself and needs professional care round the clock as he developed symptoms of dementia.

He has been staying with his other daughter, Moona Suhail, in Rawalpindi. But Sana became anxious about her father as Suhail was due to leave Pakistan for the UK along with her family.

When the government finally exempted him from hotel quarantine rule, it was a huge relief for the family. The elderly man is now slated to fly back to the UK on August 6 but Sana rues the delay on the part of the government.

“I don’t expect sympathy, it’s just the fact I was trying to apply for medical exemption for someone who is so clearly very sick, to not have had any communication whatsoever with the date of travel fast approaching was very stressful.”

The department of health and social care apologised for the delay which it said was caused by “high volume of enquiries and requests”.

“We make every effort to reach decisions on exemptions as quickly and fairly as possible to help families while keeping the public safe. All decisions for quarantine exemptions are carefully considered on a case-by-case basis and we always balance the needs of the person applying with our top priority of ensuring the general public are as protected as possible”, iNews quoted a department spokesperson as saying.

Recently a woman, who had returned from Pakistan, had narrated her ordeal during her mandatory quarantine in a hotel room which was not suitable for her terminally-ill daughter.

Eastern Eye

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