Quarantine Hotel – Day 0

The day you enter to the UK is Day 0. We were transferred from airport to our hotel (Park Plaza Victoria) via bus.

Once we entered to the hotel, there were at least 6 different people trying to escort us to a specific area. Finally we sat down and we were offered some water.

There was a leaflet that summarise the rules.
The staff at the hotel was helpful, we need a room fridge to put my insulin pens and they provided a room.

They gave us another sheet to select the food for the following 12 days.

Lucy us! We got to chose Day 0 lunch (which they sent us 2 sandwiches)

I do not think I got to mention the taste of the food. You will see the photos in the next post..

Booking a hotel quarantine & Flight to the UK

We had to take PCR test
We had to fill a Passenger Locator Form before taking the flight (48 hours before).
We need to book quarantine hotel, and pay £3715 (please check here) before filling that form and need an invoice number(which will be created by CTM after you make the reservation, if they do not have a new rule that day). It is just a vicious circle.
Quick information about this total amount. It used to be £1,750 per person, plus £650 per another adult before 12th August. And then, they decided this money is not enough for the service they provided in the hotels!!! (Please check the news)

We arranged the booking on 26th and CTM informed that we could get the invoice number in 48 hours. On 27th,there was no email and we could not fill the form without that. At that moment, we were still in Turkey and it was not easy to reach out to CTM (whom they called themselves as “award winning travel company”) to get any update about the process. Thanks to one of our friends in the UK, he called them and after 1 hour of phone call; he let us know that the problem was due to the mismatch between the name on the credit card and reservation. Look how fast an award winning company(!) respond to you & make excuses to a person who is just trying to pay the goddamn money and put themselves into a cage.. At the end, they solved the problem and sent us the invoice number in the afternoon.

We took the flight on 9.00 AM from Turkey and arrived to the UK at 10.33 AM. Of course we took our PCR tests 24 hours ago which was negative.

When we landed, we went out from Emergency exit, put into a bus and travelled to Terminal 4 with 15-20 minutes journey, like we are illegal in the country.
Then we entered in the Passport control queue with other people coming from various red list countries. We waited in that queue for almost 2.5 hours. Yes, this is true. For a very long time, there was only 1 officer to check all the required documents & passports. All this time, we were in the queue mostly without any social distancing with people from different RED list countries…
The security people were not even asking people to follow the rules like social distancing or wearing a mask. You cannot just put that many people in the queue and expect them to follow the rules, it is not how people act.

When we passed the security, we collect our luggage and went to buses. It does not make any sense to put all these people into the same bus and take them to different hotels. What happens if one of those passenger is Covid Positive? The only people who checked my PCR result was the person in my airline kiosk during check-in. The officer in the UK border checked only CTM and my passport.

  • How can you make sure all airlines are checking PCR result before entering flight?
  • How would you know I catch the virus while I was waiting in that queue at the border?
  • What if one of the person in the coach travelling to a different hotel other than mine was positive and I was sitting very close? He/she could infect me and other people in the hotel; I could infect other people in my hotel.

    All these are just nonsense and I would like proper explanations from government. According to what data they are doing these things to people?

Why did we end up in a managed quarantine in the UK?

On 25th of July, my father was admitted to hospital in Kayseri, Turkey.He was suffering from a rare disease called MSA (Multiple system atrophy, please check NHS Page).It is a progressive disease and he had lost his ability to walk, eat and breathe in the last 5 months.The reason he was admitted is because he hadn`t eaten anything in the past 3 weeks and his doctor advised him to have PEG (percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy) so he could get any nutrition, fluids and/or medications directly from his stomach.

On 30th of July, her was admitted to ICU because shortness of breath. I have talked with his doctor to understand his situation. He told me that he could not breath and they had to take him to the ICU, but he was not intubated.

On 31th of August, I heard that he was intubated, the doctor assessed his situation and he told my sisters that if his heart stops; he would prefer not to take any action as he had been suffering a lot and would suffer more if he had a heart massage.I also learned that my father was asking to see me one last time as I am the youngest kid of him and the only one living abroad.

My husband did not want to leave me alone and wanted to come back with me.We knew Turkey was in the red list but there was a review in the upcoming week. Besides, it was not our concern at that moment; my only wish was to see him one last time..

We drove from Glasgow to London because the closest flight was from Stansted airport and there was no way we could catch that by train, or any other way. We left our car in the car park for 1 month, we only took cabin baggage with us and took the flight.

I visited my father in the hospital as soon as I landed to my home town and had a chance to talk to him even if his only reaction was blinking.I visited him everyday and tried to talk to him for 10 mins with only simple sentences like we are ok, he is in good hands as Ataturk said, in order not to make him tired.After 1 week, one evening; the hospital called my sister and told her that my father`s heart stopped, they had to make heart massage and brought him back to life.When we went to see him that day, he was unconscious, nurses put a plaster on his eyes and he was not even blinking any more..

For the following week, he never woke up. I again talked his doctor because i did not know what to do. I would like to stay there with him, but no one knew what is going to happen and when.
The doctor told me if you had to go then go, the he had never known; my father could have stay in the ICU for months.
Working from Turkey was not option for us. Both me and my husband are working in the UK for a healthcare software company and we had limited access to work offshore. On the other hand, if we flew to the UK, we had to stay in a quarantine hotel and if something happens in that 12 days, I could not leave the hotel and I would have gone crazy.
On the travel list review took place on 5th of August, UAE was moved to amber list. Which was easy for a Turkish citizen to get a visa and find flight easily. So we decided to fly to Dubai, so if something happens to my father; we could go back to Turkey. If not; we could spend 10 days and fly to the UK, to our home. We flew there on 16th of August.This decision was purely because the of the chance to go back to Turkey if necessary. Not because of money we were to pay for hotel quarantine.We paid almost the same money for Dubai visa, flight, hotels, food etc.

Unfortunately, my father passed away on 19th of August. We flew back to Turkey on that day and I got to attend my father`s funeral, I was there with my sisters and my mother and to condole each other.

We waited for the next travel list review and on 26th of August, Turkey was again in the red list. Despite all the articles, predictions that were published in the previous days (https://news.sky.com/story/covid-19-turkey-expects-to-be-removed-from-red-list-when-travel-rules-reviewed-later-this-week-12388876).

Then we decided to come back to the UK any ways because we had to (because we had a life here, we have jobs, our car was in the middle of nowhere, our house etc. etc.).
We had to come back even if I was heart broken, feeling lost and desperate and not able to find a word to describe my misery, we had to come back, lock ourselves into a cage and stay there at least for 12 days.. We took the flights on 28th, we booked quarantine hotel..

Please note that all this period of time, we were very careful due to Covid.
– We were following government guidelines from the beginning of this pandemic.
– We have never tested positive, never had any symptoms.
– Both me and my husband were double vaccinated in the UK(Scotland) and we never gave up following restrictions even after our vaccines.

I just want my voice to be heard and my situation to be understood. I had no option but to go and see my father. I did not travel to a red list county just because I want to have some sun; i had no choice. It is not my problem that Turkey government did not provide data to GISAID or Brits holidaymakers would go to Turkey; it was my father whom I can never see, touch or talk again…

Cry for help

My name is Pelin and the reason I would like to start this blog is to look after my mental health in this 12 day quarantine period in a hotel in the UK, and contribute to stop this inhuman practice.

I would like to do this publicly because I know there are other people suffering from the same thing and I would like my voice to be heard, I would like my pain to be seen and acknowledged and maybe get some mercy.

I will write about why I ended up in a quarantine hotel, why I had to visit my parents who are living in Turkey (which has been in the UK government red list since May).
Also, I will share my experience in a quarantine hotel.
Most importantly, I would like my question to be answered about this execution:

  • How many people tested positive during quarantine hotel stay on Day 2? And demographics of these people? Which country did they come from?
  • How many people tested positive during quarantine hotel stay on Day 8? I do not think people tested positive on Day 8 has brought the Covid from origin country, it is because of the queues in airport, bus etc. I would like this data to be shared publicly.
  • How many people tested positive who stayed in a quarantine hotel but also took 2 doses of Covid vaccine?
  • Why double vaccination is not a key parameter to decide a person`s quarantine status when that person is coming from a red list country where it is a key parameter for people coming from an amber list country?
  • Why this “award winning travel company (CTM)” is putting the people in random hotels instead of putting people coming with the same flight into the same hotel in order to minimise the risk of infecting other people in the bus etc.?