Bristol isolating abroad criticises UK travel restrictions

A Bristol woman, who has spent almost two weeks in an Australian hotel in quarantine, has criticised the UK’s travel restrictions.

Chloe Newnham is 11 days into her fortnight of Australian government mandated isolation in Brisbane, after travelling to the country from the UK.

The 32-year-old said our country should learn from regulations other countries have put in place to tackle the virus.

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Ms Newnham was brought up in Bristol but now lives Down Under, where she has citizenship through her father.

The speech therapist described how the process has “run so smoothly”, and she has “felt very well supported” through the lockdown, which has placed her in a hotel room with no openable windows.

She said: “They have a nurse who comes every day to check if any Covid symptoms have cropped up, and also a mental health nursing team who are available if you want them – they call me every other day just to check I’m doing okay.

“There’s also a lot of information you can get before you come so you can be prepared.

bristol isolating abroad criticises uk travel restrictions - Bristol isolating abroad criticises UK travel restrictions
This is the hotel room Chloe has been sleeping in, without windows that open

“The UK should use the example of other places. There are already systems in place, so why recreate the wheel?”

Ms Newnham said protocol in Australia was “so strict”, and avoiding the compulsory isolation would have been virtually impossible.

Upon arrival, Ms Newnham and her fellow passengers were screened by a health professional before they were directed onto coaches by Australian Army personnel.

She said: “Then at the other end there were more army people there ready to usher us into the hotel.”

“I’m pretty sure there’s someone sat outside in the hallway, pretty much at all times. I keep hearing their walkie talkie sounds.

“Good luck to anyone who tries to outrun that, I say.”

The staff deliver Ms Newnham three meals a day and visitors are allowed to leave things at the hotel for her.

bristol isolating abroad criticises uk travel restrictions 1 - Bristol isolating abroad criticises UK travel restrictions
Undated handout photo of the special lunch given to Chloe Newnham in hotel room in Brisbane, Australia, for Australia Day. The Briton locked down for two weeks in an Australian hotel room has said the UK should learn from quarantine systems already in place in other countries. Issue date: Friday January 29, 2021. PA Photo. Chloe has been locked in a hotel room with no openable windows in Brisbane for 11 out of 14 days required as part of Australian coronavirus regulations she is set to leave on Monday. See PA story HEALTH Coronavirus. Photo credit should read: Chloe Newnham/PA Wire NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.
(Image: Chloe Newnham/PA Wire)

Despite the slick system in place, Ms Newnham noted the experience has not been without its challenges.

She said: “There’s been good days and more difficult days. It’s really isolating and very disconnecting.

“I think the lack of fresh air and inability to go outside has been the biggest struggle – especially when you can see the beautiful Australian weather outside your window.

“But I think because the rules were so clear I came in mentally prepared for it.

“There’s no way around it, it’s not like if it’s really bad then I’ll go for a walk – there’s no choice.

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“I’m happy to do this because this is me playing my part to keep Australian citizens healthy and safe.”

Ms Newnham said she has been filling her quarantined days with yoga, writing in a journal, reading books and “lots of Netflix”.

She described feeling lucky to have friends and family regularly checking in on her online.

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