'No more Covid quarantine hotels in Milton Keynes' say councillors

Two local hotels are approved as quarantine centres

Tuesday, 6th July 2021, 1:50 pm

Ruling MK councillors have called for a limit on the number of Covid quarantine hotels in the borough.

Currently two local hotels, both part of large chains, are approved to take in guests arriving from red list areas abroad and manage their quarantine period.

A third hotel, understood to be in Newport Pagnell, recently applied but was refused for health and safety reasons.

Travellers arriving from red list countries must quarantine for 10 days in an approved hotel

Under current rules, everyone who is allowed to enter England from a red list country must quarantine in a managed quarantine hotel for 10 full days. They have to pay around £1,750 to stay in isolation, have all meals provided and be tested regularly for Covid.

Councillor Jane Carr, Liberal Democrat Progressive Alliance Cabinet Member with responsibility for public health, believes the number of these hotels in Milton Keynes is unsustainable.

“At the moment, direct flights from red list countries can only arrive into London Heathrow and Birmingham. Because of our proximity to these and other key airports, our city is an appealing location for quarantine hotels,” she said.

“However, these hotels put additional strain on the council and local health service at what is already an extremely trying time. Additionally, as we ease out of lockdown, these hotels may be needed for local events, benefiting the local economy.”

Cllr Carr added: “We completely understand the need for these hotels, and will do everything we can to help reduce the risk of transmissions, but there needs to be a limit.

“If more and more managed quarantine hotels are needed, we need reassurance from the Managed Quarantine Service in the Department of Health and Social Care that the number planned for our city is limited, appropriate and sustainable.”

Other protestors have expressed fears that the hotel staff could be at risk, and Covid could be also be spread if one of the quarantined guests absconds into the local community. If guests do become severely ill with Covid, this could put pressure on MK hospital, they say.

But a source from the hotel industry has denied there is any risk.

"The regulations and very, very strict and the hotel managers and staff will be following them very strictly. The rules are there is keep people safe," he said,