An East London man said he is being held against his will after being forced to quarantine at the Heathrow Radisson Blu Edwardian. Anthony Pium, a 30-year-old father of one, returned to the U.K. on Wednesday from Brazil, where he was working as a travel agent for Sky Fly Travel.
New rules went into effect on Feb. 15, mandating all travelers arriving in the U.K. to observe a ten-day quarantine and pay £1,750 to cover accommodations, food, and testing.
Pium attempted to leave his hotel room and said the staff became forceful, barricading him in. He was photographed standing at the window of his hotel room displaying a message he’d typed on his laptop:
“I have been held here against my will. They lost my suitcase. I have nothing. I have no essentials. I have told them I can’t breathe. Police told me I can’t leave without a doctor’s exempt note. Please send legal help or something!! Thank you.”
Pium said the hotel’s staff had inquired about his dietary requirements but offered inadequate food. “They’re trying to serve me processed food, which I don’t eat. Somebody cut up a chicken tikka salad, which did not look like a chicken tikka salad, and I refused to eat it.”
“I am on hunger strike. I won’t touch any of the food they give me. They have to let me out of here. They have set meals, and I don’t know where this is coming from. I’m in a room that isn’t well-ventilated, and I don’t want to get sick while I’m here,” he said.
“I feel like they’re not really doing anything to protect me properly, and they’re trying, but the hotel staff is really slapdash and careless with the stuff they do. One or two of them don’t even have a mask on. I haven’t seen much else breaking the guidelines apart from social distancing because they don’t have the proper social distance measures.”
“I have to stay in the same clothes that I’ve traveled on the flight in for 15 hours. It’s really embarrassing and unhygienic. I’m really upset, I’m really frustrated, and I feel like this is changing my view on how the police and the government help people in this crisis,” Pium said.
“They already know coronavirus affects people mentally, and I’ve been away from my family for two months. Now coming back to my own country feels worse than when I was in Brazil. They’re trapping me in my room, and, to be honest, it’s the worst experience of my life.”
“I just wanted to get back into the country, quarantine at home, and see my son, who is eight, and I’m really missing him.”