YesUlia Brill’s £ 4,500 package holiday to the Greek island of Rhodes turned into a nightmare only on day three when her eight-year-old son felt sick. He tested positive for Covid-19 and the family of four was moved from his five-star hotel to one room in a government quarantine hotel for 14 days.
“The hotel was on the flight path to the island with planes flying meters above every eight minutes,” she said. “The room was filthy with dirt on all surfaces, rows of ants walking on the floor among the hair of previous guests, and there were cockroaches in the bathroom. The pipes were clogged and stank. There was no bottled water, cutlery or crockery.
“The food, which was mostly inedible, was left unceremoniously at our door three times a day, the air conditioning barely worked and the wifi came and went. When the forest fires raged in Rhodes, all the electricity went out. We could see flames on the hills as we sat in total darkness with no air conditioning or wifi.
The family experience is the worst-case scenario for vacationers who hope for a break in the sun but then test positive for Covid-19 abroad. British tourists can find themselves trapped in substandard conditions for 10 days or more.
A relaxation of UK travel rules last month has spurred an increase in holiday bookings. However, while fully vaccinated arrivals from Amber and Green List countries no longer need to be quarantined in the UK, anyone who tests positive overseas must self-isolate for at least 10 days until to be negative, before being allowed to go home.
Several European destinations, such as Greece and Spain, may require infected travelers to move to government-appointed accommodation and some vacationers claim they have been detained in squalid conditions while footing their hotel bill. resort.
Under Greek rules, travelers who test positive can self-quarantine at their vacation hotel if it is four stars or higher, or at a government-approved property. The Brill family say they have not been given the opportunity to stay, and that their tour operator, Tui, has not informed them of the Greek quarantine requirements.
The 14-day period was reduced to 10 as the family self-isolated in August, but they say they only found out when they contacted the British consul after eight days in the room. “We still had to figure out and overcome all the tests, forms and bureaucratic hurdles,” Brill said. “Tui didn’t even help us book our return flights.”
Tui says local authorities made the decision to move the family from the resort hotel. “We were so sorry to hear about the Brill family’s experience and understand how upsetting it must have been,” he says.
“Although we had no control when Master Brill tested positive for Covid and the family was contacted directly under local regulations, our resort team kept in regular contact and did all that they could. she could to help. We would like to reassure our customers that their safety and well-being is always our top priority.
Covid coverage, added to the Brills’ package, will reimburse them for their £ 1,500 expenses, including modified flights, PCR tests and taxis, but they are not entitled to a refund for nights not used in their resort hotel. Coverage, Holiday Promise, is included in all Tui packages with departure dates before October 31.
The Greek authorities are covering the bill for travelers’ quarantined accommodation, but holidaymakers from other countries have had to pay the costs themselves. Tourists in Spain say they have been charged up to £ 2,000 for a room in addition to hotel costs.
Asymptomatic Covid-19 cases may not realize they are infected until they pass a test required by the UK government three days before their flight home, which means they must extend their planned stay until everything is clear. (Transportation Secretary Grant Schapps announced on Friday that starting October 4, fully vaccinated passengers will no longer need to take a pre-departure test when returning from non-redlisted countries.)
If another family member tests positive later, the quarantine is extended for an additional 10 days and vacationers who miss their return flight must rebook at their own expense. They must also pay a doctor to administer the required tests.
Travel insurance is even more important than usual for anyone traveling abroad during the Covid era and full coverage for a family of four starts at around £ 20.
It is essential that you check the fine print for a company’s definition of Covid coverage as it can vary wildly. Basic policies will only pay for medical care and repatriation due to Covid, while more comprehensive policies will cover you if a positive test prevents you from flying to or from your vacation, as well as accommodation costs if you have to. isolate abroad.
Travelers are advised to check the restrictions at their destination on the government website before booking a vacation. These are constantly changing and may vary from region to region.
“If your pre-departure test is positive, you should follow the advice of local authorities and notify your tour operator, who will offer support and advice,” says Sean Tipton of the Abta Travel Association.
“You will also need to contact your travel insurance provider to see what your policy entitles you to regarding coverage of any additional costs, such as extending your stay to cover the quarantine period, accommodation, additional testing. , reorganization of your return trip and any medical treatment that may be necessary.When insurance does not cover these costs, you will have to cover them yourself.