Amal Arif, from London, flew to Turkey with her two children but within 24 hours was back in the UK, forced to stay in 10-day isolation
An NHS worker and her two children are being quarantined in a ‘prison like hotel’ after going on holiday to Turkey and being refused entry to the country.
Amal Arif, 30, who has a Somalian passport had taken her daughters, aged three and seven, on a month-long sunshine break to see relatives in the Turkish capital Ankara.
But she is now being forced to quarantine for ten days at a Holiday Inn in Slough after being kicked out of Turkey on her arrival at the airport and not even being allowed to start her holiday.
Speaking to MailOnline: ‘I feel like I am being treated worse than a prisoner. The food is unappetising, it’s disgusting and we are only allowed out of our rooms to get some fresh air for 20 minutes a day. And I didn’t even get to go on holiday.’
Amal, 30, who lives in London, insisted that she had the correct Turkish E-visa, for tourism or business, allowing her to stay up to three months, and evidence that she had been a UK resident for nine years.
She claims that border officials at Istanbul airport refused to accept that she had the right paperwork and ordered her to fly back to the UK.
Amal and her children had to catch a flight back home without even leaving the airport and must quarantine for ten days under Government rules as Turkey is a ‘red list’ country.
The married mother-of-two, who works as a health care assistant, paid £774 for her flights and has been forced to pay the official Government quarantine fee of £1,750 plus an extra payment of £325 for her seven-year-old.
She has claimed that she and her children are being fed unappetising meals in cardboard boxes while having to stay in a ‘prison like hotel in total mental distress’.
Amal shared pictures with MailOnline showing child meals including a small nuggets and chips, a fish finger, a slice of toast and a carton of milk.
Amal describes the meals like this plate of chicken burger and chips at the hotel as ‘unappetising’. She shared photos with MailOnline of some of the food she has received
Amal, who is an NHS health worker, says she receives three meals a day at the Holiday Inn in Slough, which are left outside her bedroom door by staff within a two-hour time slot
Amal says that she was served this breakfast with one box of cereal, two slices of toast and a crossaint between her and her two children. She doesn’t feel that her £3,000 stay is worth it
She has been left reflecting on how her ‘holiday’ lasted less than 24 hours before she ended up back in the UK and in quarantine.
Amal who has been fully vaccinated and had a negative PCR test before travelling said she was furious that Turkish officials refused to accept her documentation.
She said: ‘I didn’t even step foot out of the airport. I hold a Somalia passport, my E-Visa obtained on my phone and the UK home office EU settlement papers, proving I have been a resident in the UK for nine years.
‘I have been to Turkey many times with no significant issues. I had my E-Visa right in front of me and they didn’t believe it. They told me I would be deported right back to the UK even though I am a UK resident and work in the NHS.
‘It was a horrible situation. They locked me in a room without my phone, documentations, and no food. I was so terrified, I felt they treated me like a terrorist.’
Amal said she had been offered quarantine accommodation in Birmingham or Oxford before being given the option of the hotel in Slough.
She claimed she was threatened with a fine of £10,000 if she did not comply peacefully.
Amal slammed the conditions in her quarantine hotel, saying: ‘I don’t even get nutritious food. They say if you want more you must pay for more.
‘I never imagined it to be like this, I thought there would be facilities at least for my children.
The mother-of-two also criticised the basic room room she has been given for ten days cooped up with her children who have little space to move around during their quarantine
Amal has claimed the Holiday Inn Slough are unable to do your washing due to ‘cross-contamination’ and has to constantly call reception for cleaning products and basic essentials
The Holiday Inn Slough (pictured) has cost Amal £3,000 to spend 10 days in isolation
‘The hotel doesn’t voluntarily bring you essentials like food, toilet roll, cleaning products and bed sheets. You must ring them constantly and hope they answer.’
Amal said the Holiday Inn had provided only ‘a very limited menu with specific times to eat’.
Breakfast is served within a two-hour time slot from 7:30am, with lunch from 1.30pm and an evening meal from 7.30pm, with no snacks given in between.
Amal added: ‘There is a menu you get given, but they give you what’s left available, even though you request a specific meal.
‘Yesterday I chose scrambled egg, beans, a fruit bowl and juice but got given a slice of toast with jam.
‘The first 24 hours was such a struggle as they were just bringing what they want and sometimes my children didn’t like the food.
‘When you ask to wash your kids’ clothes, they tell you to wait 72 hours for it. I wasn’t even allowed to get my husband to bring in fresh, clean clothes.
‘The hotel told me they can’t give back my kids clothes because of cross-contamination and my husband isn’t allowed to bring any in either. Prison gives better treatment than this.
Guests staying at the quarantine hotel are allowed to go outside three times for 20 minutes at a time to talk to relatives in a ‘prison-like’ scenario through a metal gate (pictured)
‘I am speechless, I don’t know where else to go to contact.
‘Every door I have knocked on tells me to go to the Department of Health and Social Care and take it up with them, but it is impossible.’
Turkey has been a ‘red’ country on the Government list since May, meaning that any adult or child aged over 11 returning to the UK from there has to pay £1,750 to be quarantined in a designated hotel for ten days.
The ruling has devastated the tourism industry in the country which was one of the most popular donations for UK tourists before the pandemic.
Amal is having to undergo two COVID-19 tests in her hotel during her isolation period, but the first has already proved negative.
A spokeswoman for Holiday Inn said: We’re unable to share any comment as the approach to quarantine and hotel selection is a matter for the Department of Health and Social Care.’