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Legal challenge to mandatory hotel quarantine

island

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PGMBM, a London law firm specializing in group litigations, has filed a judicial review against mandatory hotel quarantine. They seek refunds and compensation for their double-vaccinated clients on the grounds that the policy is irrational, disproportionate, and against human rights. The firm previously took action against the requirement for upfront payment and the government conceded, allowing payment plans and fee waivers.

There was a brief segment about it on the rolling news channels this morning; I am sure the usual online places will have it too.

For comparison, Ireland and Norway are the only other countries operating mandatory hotel quarantine, and they do not require it for fully vaccinated travellers.
 
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Cdd89

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I think the charges of lack of proportionality would be much easier for the government to defend if we had either:
  • Banned all travel from Red List countries altogether with no mixing in the international departure lounge, or on connecting flights from Amber countries with other people who aren’t quarantining (hotel quarantine in line with a zero tolerance approach)
Or
  • Released people from hotel quarantine and into home quarantine after a negative PCR test taken after 2 days (hotel quarantine in line with a risk based approach comparable with other accepted risks, such as quarantine exemptions and International Transit risks)
As it stands the policy feels like a punitive deterrent and may be on a weak footing as a result.

Of course the above ignores the fact that the measure is well past its time anyway; Canada stopped theirs for all travellers recently. In my view it should never have been implemented in the first place and the vast majority of non-elimination western countries never had any form of hotel quarantine as a matter of course for international arrivals. I’m angry both with the government for implementing it, and for the opposition for supporting it (the latter indeed called for it to be expanded to all countries!).
 

island

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I would observe that Scotland implemented hotel quarantine for arrivals from all countries outwith the CTA for a period of time, and Wales bans anyone who has been in a red list country in the past 10 days from entering Wales.
 

LAX54

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I think the charges of lack of proportionality would be much easier for the government to defend if we had either:
  • Banned all travel from Red List countries altogether with no mixing in the international departure lounge, or on connecting flights from Amber countries with other people who aren’t quarantining (hotel quarantine in line with a zero tolerance approach)
Or
  • Released people from hotel quarantine and into home quarantine after a negative PCR test taken after 2 days (hotel quarantine in line with a risk based approach comparable with other accepted risks, such as quarantine exemptions and International Transit risks)
As it stands the policy feels like a punitive deterrent and may be on a weak footing as a result.

Of course the above ignores the fact that the measure is well past its time anyway; Canada stopped theirs for all travellers recently. In my view it should never have been implemented in the first place and the vast majority of non-elimination western countries never had any form of hotel quarantine as a matter of course for international arrivals. I’m angry both with the government for implementing it, and for the opposition for supporting it (the latter indeed called for it to be expanded to all countries!).
Of course a red country to us may not be, and probably isn't to many others, so all they would need to do, would be travel via any other Country, and unless you can prove that, that person has been to a red country in the previous 14 / 21 days whatever, then you are no better off.
Also get rid of the Amber, either Red or Green.... you can or you can't .
 

ExRes

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Will the employees of PGMBM have to go into quarantine when they've finished chasing all those Covid infected ambulances?
 

duncanp

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I hope this legal action succeeds, although no doubt the government will try everything they can to delay and obstruct it.

Anything which can contribute to the dismantling and abolition of silly COVID rules which have got nothing to do with "keeping people safe" has go to be worth it.
 

island

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Of course a red country to us may not be, and probably isn't to many others, so all they would need to do, would be travel via any other Country, and unless you can prove that, that person has been to a red country in the previous 14 / 21 days whatever, then you are no better off.
Also get rid of the Amber, either Red or Green.... you can or you can't .
Many countries stamp passports on exit as well as entrance and if the UK Border Force spot a stamp from a red list country that the person had not declared on their form, they will be less than thrilled (and the traveller can be issued a £10,000 fine or prosecuted).
 

NorthKent1989

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I hope this legal action succeeds, although no doubt the government will try everything they can to delay and obstruct it.

Anything which can contribute to the dismantling and abolition of silly COVID rules which have got nothing to do with "keeping people safe" has go to be worth it.

Indeed, the time to “keep people safe” has long since passed, so anything that dismantles Covid rules is a bonus!

Anything else to keep the Covid rules going is more about control and not controlling the virus as some would like to believe.
 
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LAX54

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Indeed, the time to “keep people sage” has long since passed, so anything that dismantles Covid rules is a bonus!

Anything else to keep the Covid rules going is more about control and not controlling the virus as some would like to believe.
New Zealand doing a good job keeping it going for themselves, keeping borders closed to all until 2022, but, when they open them..............
Australia seem to be making a pigs ear of it too !
 
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NorthKent1989

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New Zealand doing a good job keeping it going for themselves, keeping borders closed to all until 2022, but, when they open them..............
Australia seem to be making a pigs ear of it too !

They want zero Covid which is completely impossible even if 100% of the population are vaccinated against Covid it won’t ever go away.

At least over here most of us have accepted this fact.
 

Watershed

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I think the most likely avenue of success is in preventing the government from charging for the stay at 'Her Majesty's Pleasure'.

This is contrary to the International Health Regulations which the government signed up to and ratified in 2008, as part of the amendments to the Public Health Act 1984 that have been used to impose lockdowns and restrictions more generally.

I concur entirely with the points about necessity, but the courts have been extremely reluctant during Covid to interfere with ministerial assessments of risk. So if the minister says it's necessary, that basically seems to be enough.

It's telling that PGBGM are only including double vaccinated travellers in their claimants, suggesting that even they (who are known to sometimes put forward relatively 'ambitious' claims) don't think there's any chance of overturning this policy in relation to unvaccinated travellers.

I very much hope the claim succeeds but I fear it won't.
 

yorksrob

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Personally I'd be more comfortable with this action succeding had there previously been a successful action against the policy of lockdown. My belief is that liberty at home should always take priority over an open border and having this successful case without the other could lead to policy being tilted in the wrong way.
 

Cdd89

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My belief is that liberty at home should always take priority over an open border
Support for international travel restrictions relies on persuading people that there is this trade off, and if there were I’d entirely agree.

But it’s increasingly clear that there is no such trade off, because 1) people coming from higher risk countries isn’t significant when Covid is endemic domestically, and 2) all the Red lists in the world won’t keep variants of concern out, because for that you need 100% effective restrictions, not 99.99% effective ones.
 

Bantamzen

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Personally I'd be more comfortable with this action succeding had there previously been a successful action against the policy of lockdown. My belief is that liberty at home should always take priority over an open border and having this successful case without the other could lead to policy being tilted in the wrong way.
It probably won't need to be successful, it just needs to be enough political pressure to focus ministerial minds.
 

tspaul26

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Personally I'd be more comfortable with this action succeding had there previously been a successful action against the policy of lockdown.
There has been in Scotland.

I have noticed increasing press coverage of late regarding the poor conditions in these hotels and the harassment of women by the prison guards so I expect (by the time it comes to trial) the Government will fold using increased domestic vaccination as cover for the change.
 

davews

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Perhaps related and an aspect usually overlooked.
A society I am involved in was to hold their annual gathering at a big hotel in Manchester. It was meant to be held there last year but obviously didn't. All seemed to be going well until we heard (by the back door on Trip Advisor) that the hotel had been taken over as an isolation hotel (seemingly some were trying to dodge the rules by flying into Manchester which doesn't handle red list countries) and they would have to cancel our booking (several hundred people). We have now been told that they will be open to the public late September and the event can go ahead as planned in October. Unless the Government changes its mind of course.

This is unmentioned collateral damage. Not only to the people with bookings there but also to some of the hotel staff, eg bar and restaurant not to mention cleaners, who will need laying off as not needed in the quarantine regime.
 

Cdd89

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It would appear that a separate legal challenge is also underway, from someone who asserts they were treated inhumanly:

Mr Singh said his stay left him "traumatised" and suffering from depression.He said: "It was pure fear. I had to go and speak to my doctors. I couldn't sleep at night.
"I didn't know that I was going to be treated like a Covid prisoner. It is despicable behaviour - just not acceptable."
He said security guards stayed by his room to stop him leaving and allocated restricted fresh air breaks on the hotel roof.
Mr Singh added that he was served halal meat, which was not appropriate for his religion.
Mr Singh said he tested positive for coronavirus 11 days after leaving the hotel, where he had two negative tests.

The additional allegation here is that they contracted Covid whilst in hotel quarantine (based on a positive test 11 days after leaving), along with photographs of more than one person at a time being allowed into lifts.
 

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