On the one year anniversary of the arrival of the Covid virus in the UK, the government has introduced strict quarantine measures to stop the virus arriving again. The shock discovery that the virus mutates in other countries, as well as our own, has prompted the government to incarcerate travellers as they step off their plane.
Robert Jenrick, the Secretary of State for Housing has added the responsibility of ‘housing people in hotel rooms against their will’ to his portfolio. This week, he said: ‘There will be a time when we will look back and say, with hindsight, that there are things the government could have done differently. But that time is not now’.
With the foresight of hindsight, a senior government Minister has shown perfect near-sightedness about our situation.
Some British holiday-makers may be delighted to discover that they have an additional 10 days off work. Many are well known for stretching their vacation to the limit. But hotel quarantine can be imposed on any traveller. What if it happens to you? What could you do for 10 whole days in a Travelodge?
Day 1 – Try to work remotely, by connecting to the hotel WiFi. When you discover that the hotel WiFi costs £5 per hour and rarely works anyway, stop work and resign yourself to 10 days of enforced leisure.
Day 2 – Empty the mini bar. Line-up each miniature bottle and make them last by drinking one each hour.
Day 3 – Sleep off Day 2
Day 4 – Dare to venture out of your room. The security guard, at the end of the corridor, will order you back inside. Repeat for a reverse game of hide and seek.
Day 5 – Turn on the TV and flick through the channels – discover the Dutch anti-lockdown riots on RT. Consider civil disobedience, then think the better of it. After all, you’re British.
Day 5 – Learn a new skill. Dismantle the trouser press and reassemble it.
Day 6 – Try again to reassemble the dismembered trouser press. Accept defeat, push the broken parts under the bed and hope it doesn’t appear on your room bill.
Day 7 – Try to communicate with fellow inmates. Tap three times on the radiator pipe and wait for a reply. If you can remember morse code, have a conversation.
Day 8 – You remember that the students, locked in Halls of Residence last September, wrote protest signs and held them up to the window. Although your window only looks out onto a runway support road, the belief that you are communicating with the outside world will be reassuring. You could protest in an amusing way with a sign saying ‘Jenrick’s Prisoner, Help!’ or be supportive with ‘There are things the government could have done differently. But that time is not now.’
Day 9 – Picture your own living room and thank the powers that be that you’ve been given a change of scene.
Day 10 – Try and remember your name, where you are and how you got there.
Day 11 – A security guard will release you from your room and you will be allowed to leave. As you wander along the empty streets and past boarded up shops, you may wonder what has happened to your country. Don’t be alarmed. Your country has merely re-modelled itself into one big Quarantine hotel room. Everything will return to normal as soon as the virus stops mutating.