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A UNION representing Border Force staff has slammed the government’s last-minute guidance on how they should enact new rules for travellers arriving from “red list” countries.
PCS called it a “disgrace” that border staff were only sent guidance from the Home Office about how to carry out the new rules hours before they came into effect.
Since Monday, travellers have been required to stay in quarantine hotels — at the cost of £1,750 for 11 nights — if they have been in one of 33 countries at high risk of coronavirus variants in the previous 10 days.
A PCS spokesman said: “It’s vital that Border Force are equipped to deal with helping the public stay Covid safe.
“However, many feel underprepared and undervalued by a department that is not doing its job.”
A government spokesman said: “Border Force operational guidance on the measures has been issued and is regularly updated to ensure staff are supported on how to apply the new guidance.”
Travellers in quarantine hotels also face an extra £1,200 bill on top of the cost of their 11-night stay if they test positive for coronavirus, the government confirmed today.
Guests are allowed to leave after 11 nights if they receive negative results from tests taken on day two and day eight of their isolation.
A positive first test will extend a traveller’s stay by two nights at a cost of £304. A positive second test would mean the guest must remain for an extra eight nights and pay £1,216.
The GMB union wrote to Health Secretary Matt Hancock today to urge him to protect staff at quarantine hotels from the risk of contracting and spreading new strains. It called for “a thorough workplace testing regime [to be put] in place and a guarantee of full pay for any period of self-isolation” for staff.
GMB national officer Nadine Houghton said: “We have seen clear examples from Australia’s quarantine hotels where the virus has spread amongst guests and staff who have had no direct interaction with each other when doors into the hotel halls have been opened.
“Without proper safeguards, ministers risk jeopardising the UK’s recovery from Covid-19 with new strains running riot through communities.”
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