Just one in FIFTY people quarantined in hotels in pandemic had Covid

Covid hotels farce: Just one in FIFTY people who were quarantined during pandemic tested positive for the virus, report shows

  • A total of £757m was spent on hotels, security, transport and tests for travellers
  • The National Audit Office found only 1-in-50 quarantined guests tested positive
  • Some money was recovered from passengers, but the government spent £483m

Just two per cent of passengers put up in the Government’s £385 million quarantine hotels ended up testing positive for Covid-19, a report has found.

Arrivals from 33 ‘red list’ countries had to pay £1,750 to spend ten days in self-isolation at a designated hotel.

But the managed quarantine service – including hotels, security, transport and tests – cost £757 million between February and December 2021.

The National Audit Office found only one in 50 quarantined guests tested positive in that period. 

The National Audit Office has found 98 per cent of passengers put up in the hotels tested negative for Covid (file photo)

While £428 million was recovered from passenger fees, taxpayers were left with a net cost of £329 million.

Paying for extra Border Force staff, the passenger locator form system and follow-up costs added another £157 million to the bill.

Just £3million was recovered from passenger fines – leaving a total cost to the taxpayer of £483 million.

John O’Connell of the TaxPayers’ Alliance said: ‘While the Government had to react quickly to Covid developments, taxpayers will question the scale of squandered cash.’

Labour MP Dame Meg Hillier, who chairs the Commons Public Accounts Committee, said: ‘The Government never really got a handle on the numbers or whether its border measures worked effectively.’

Gareth Davies of the National Audit Office conceded ministers ‘had to balance many competing objectives when managing the border’.

A Government spokesman said the measures ‘bought vital time for our domestic response to new variants’.

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