A BRITISH couple facing a £3,700 quarantine bill say Omicron red list chaos has ruined their dream holiday in Cape Town.
Simon Heaton, 45 and Kerry Heaton, 45 from Chislehurst (Kent) were furious at the cancellation of travel from South Africa by British Airways.
The couple is now unable to see their children for ten days after returning from Cape Town to the UK.
The disruption and chaos caused to their holiday vacations angered them further when BA sent a text late yesterday directing the time forward by an hour to 9.45am.
BA42 was booked well in advance by holidaymakers who wanted to return home, even though they had to pay thousands to quarantine upon landing.
Simon, a personal trainer, said that their eight-day trip to Cape Town had turned into a nightmare.
He stated that he arrived on Friday morning at 8am on the BA43. We only discovered when we reached Cape Town that South Africa was red-listed when we turned our phones on.
“We were at 36,000 feet when the decision was made and we found out that we had to be home again by 4am on Sunday morning to the UK if we were to avoid quarantine.”
The couple left Alex, 13-year-old, and Georgie, 3 years, with their grandparents to take a much-deserved break. But they soon made plans to return to home.
Kerry stated: “We tried every Cape Town International airport desk to get home, but were told that there was nothing. So we had to accept it.
Boris’ decision to ban all flights back was completely wrong. If we had just gotten off a plane, and not even reached Cape Town, we should have been allowed an instant return.
“After we got to our hotel and had to start hitting the phones but it became clear that we would have to quarantine at a cost of £3700 even though we are both double jabbed.
“It would seem that our holiday insurance will not cover us to we have to pay for it ourselves.”
Simon explains they feel fortunate to be able to afford the heavy costs, but is worried about putting the children’s grandparents through an 18-day ordeal.
He claimed that their time away was “shadowed by anxiety”To get a flight back home that was compatible with hotel quarantine, you had to keep calling the airline.
He said: “It would have helped if the UK Government allowed newly arrived British tourists to come back home without quarantine on landing but banned South African’s from flying.
“We love South Africa and will be back but this has been handled so badly.”
Mandy Tredoux (57), a photographer from Leeds, Yorkshire, is based out of Cape Town, but has a daughter and toddler with autism at home.
She stated that she planned the trip a month before to get Casey, my 37-year-old daughter, and Michaela, 13-years old, through Xmas, and into the New Year.
“They were all expecting me and I could not let Michaela down as she was so excited so I have no choice but to soak up the £2285 and sit in a hotel in quarantine for 10 days.
“This Omicron does not even seem to have started here and I think what Boris has done not only banning flights is shocking and I feel disgusted that South Africa was red listed.”
Last week, Grant Shapps, Transport Secretary, announced that Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe would be red-listed.
Angola was also added to the red travel list on Sunday.
Sajid Javid said: “We will do all we can to protect the UK public against this emerging threat and that is why we are surging testing capacity to the impacted communities and introducing travel restrictions on a further four countries: Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and Angola.”
Gillian Keegan, care minister, stated earlier this week that European countries might be added to the redlist if Omicron-related cases spiral on the continent.
The new travel rules are being kept under constant review and could be tightened further.
The Omicron variant has seen a surge in the number of covid cases in South Africa, increasing by over 400% in less than a week.
Yesterday saw an explosion in infections, with 4,473 cases compared to 868 last Tuesday. This was amid concerns about the new super-strain.
Experts are concerned that the Omicron variant, which is rapidly spreading, could be able to evade some vaccine protection.
Gauteng province is the epicentre in the surge of in new Covid cases, with 72 per cent of the day’s cases, followed by the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal with six per cent of cases each.
Hospitalisations from the virus in Guateng, where less than 40 per cent of people have had a jab, have soared by 300 per cent this week.
Omicron was first discovered in South Africa on July 1, 2009. This alarming spike in cases occurred just days later.