Moving People


  • BBC

Covid-19: India arrivals begin UK hotel quarantine

The first people to arrive in the UK from India since the country was placed on the travel "red list" have entered hotel quarantine.

British and Irish nationals and those with residency rights must isolate in approved accommodation for 10 days after rules changed overnight.

India has seen a second wave of infections, with shortages of medical oxygen leaving some patients untreated.

Some British Asians have spoken of the trauma of witnessing India's surge.

Meeta Joshi, from Guildford, Surrey, described how she has lost nine close relatives and friends in India in the past week - four due to Covid.

"One was an aunt I have known since I was born… I was in communication with her regularly through mobile calls," she said.

"Life is so fragile and there is no guarantee. Until February, everything was looking fine in India."

Ashree Singh, a physiotherapist living in London, described "a state of mental agony" as relatives and friends sent worsening updates from the country on messaging apps.

The NHS worker said she had a "feeling of worthlessness and helplessness when you're seeing your family, relatives and friends suffering and dying".

On Friday, India reported 332,730 new cases of coronavirus, setting a world record for a second day running. Deaths were numbered at 2,263 in 24 hours as crematoriums organise mass funeral pyres.

Passengers from one of the first scheduled commercial flights to land in the UK from India since the red list changed were seen being escorted to government-approved hotels at London's Heathrow Airport on Friday afternoon.

TV chef Romy Gill returned from India before the travel rules changed on Thursday and is isolating in a hotel in Bristol. She praised the UK government's handling of the rules for those returning from the country.

"I was in India last November and what has been done now is completely different," she said. "I think the [UK] government is doing what they should have done ages ago."

But some have spoken of their struggle to leave India amid restrictions on travel and widespread flight cancellations.


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