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Kent man says he cannot return to the UK from Colombia because of £2.3k cost of 'red list' hotel quarantine


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An expat who has not been home to Kent since the start of the pandemic says the government should loosen its red list travel rules.

Nathan Griffiths, who grew up in Folkestone and now lives in Colombia, is among those facing a whopping £2,285 bill for 11 nights in a quarantine hotel if he returns to his homeland.

Nathan Griffiths says strict 'red list' rules mean he is unable to come back to the UK. Picture: Nathan Griffiths
Nathan Griffiths says strict 'red list' rules mean he is unable to come back to the UK. Picture: Nathan Griffiths

The former Harvey Grammar School pupil says the experience of being unable to afford to come back to Britain has left him and others suffering worsening mental health.

Mr Griffiths said: "Unfortunately I haven't been able to travel to the UK to see my family and friends since the beginning of the pandemic.

"I know of many people in the same situation that I've spoken to on Twitter. It's affecting people's mental health, and relationships too. I know I have felt exceptionally sad at times, wondering when I'll ever get back to visit the UK.

"I've been here for three years and away from the UK for two-and-a-half years. The UK government red list seems completely unfair.

"As a fully-vaccinated UK national, if I want to visit I have to spend 11 nights in a hotel quarantine, and spend £2,285 for the privilege. This has risen from £1,750 last month."

Nathan Griffiths lives in Colombia with wife Paola Ramirez. Picture: Nathan Griffiths
Nathan Griffiths lives in Colombia with wife Paola Ramirez. Picture: Nathan Griffiths

The 35-year-old is one of almost 3,000 British people who have signed a petition to Parliament calling on the government to remove Colombia from the red list.

Currently the South American country has fully-vaccinated 33% of the population, compared to 66% in the UK.

Yesterday the government's travel rules were relaxed, with fully-vaccinated travellers arriving from non-red list countries no longer required to take a Covid-19 test before travelling to the UK.

There are currently 54 countries on the red list, including Brazil, South Africa and Thailand.

"It's also highly frustrating that it seems certain people are exempt from this obscene hotel quarantine," Mr Griffiths said. "Footballers, actors, and government officials all seem to be able to avoid the measure.

"I'm sick of it being one rule for some and one for the rest of us."

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