Government considering hotel quarantine
With the rise of new COVID-19 variants across the world, the UK government is reviewing measures to keep the country safe from unknown variants entering the country. The Times reported today that the government is considering hotel-style quarantine, similar to that which is used in Australia. This is one of the ways of ensuring that people stick to quarantine as figures show that a significant number do not appear to be following quarantine protocols. During a lockdown, this can be tricky for people that live alone without friends or family nearby as getting online food deliveries can be tricky. This could be an area where the government could help by allowing priority supermarket slots for those quarantining (currently you have to be shielding and live alone) or by offering the chance to buy one of the supermarket essentials boxes perhaps that they can deliver within a certain timeframe.
Obviously, no one should be travelling on holiday right now, but for those returning home from abroad legitimately the constant change of regulations can make it difficult to plan ahead. Hotel quarantine could be very costly for those that have had to scrape together the money for an emergency visit abroad to see a dying relative for example. In Australia, travellers are charged up to £2,500 to stay in a hotel room for between 14 and 24 days.
Another option would be to use a similar system to that which has just been introduced in Barbados and is also being used in the Cayman Islands. This involves an app and an electronic tracking device. While these are not 100% tamper-proof, if you take them off for an extended period of time, it’s pretty obvious you are either dead or have taken it off! The Times also reported that officials have been asked to look at GPS and facial recognition as an option to ensuring that people are sticking to quarantine. This may prove to be a better option for those that have to travel right now.
Why you should check your Hilton account
I recently wrote about the generous gift that Hilton Diamond members were being given – the chance to give Hilton Gold membership to a friend or family member (or in fact anyone you chose). You must complete this by 31 January 2021, so if you haven’t already nominated someone, you need to get a move on. This has now thrown up some interesting information for every Hilton member, not just Diamond.
Lots of readers and members of various Facebook groups for Hilton members were saying that they had not received their code to gift Gold. There is an immediate way round this – email [email protected] (this is only for Diamond members). You will then receive the code for the nominee to add to their account to get Gold.
I must admit I hadn’t really noticed that I didn’t seem to receive much mail from Hilton. However, this is actually a symptom of the issue. I am pretty sure I never opted out of any communications knowingly, but it would appear that a large amount of people have accounts where emails for promotions are deselected.
American website Loyalty Lobby received the information from Hilton when they had the same missing email. Having now checked my account, this appears to be the cause of the issue. No matter what status you have, you will need to opt in to receiving promotional emails from Hilton if you don’t want to miss out on offers.
To do this, you need to sign in to your Hilton Honors account and then select profile from the middle of the top bar. Then select email subscriptions.
You can then select from lots of different options as to what type of emails you want to receive. Nearly all of mine were unselected, so it was worth me checking some boxes to keep up to date. Of course, if you want to cut down on emails, we will be covering all the major deals on TLFL!
Emirates cuts most Australia flights
Flights to Australia have been limited by government restrictions in terms of numbers which has made it difficult for those returning to the country as well as airlines trying to run flights. The cap is necessary due to the restricted numbers of rooms available at approved government quarantine hotels. Now the Australian government has reduced the cap further. Under the new limits, New South Wales can only take 1505 people a week into hotel quarantine and Queensland just 500. Victoria was already only taking about 1100 people a week. Flights have already been flying with less than 200 passengers despite high demand. Limits have been lowered after the Australian government called for a review of quarantine procedures after a cleaner at a quarantine hotel and several other guests developed COVID despite not having physical contact with each other.
Thousands of Australians are stranded with 40,000 Australians are still stuck overseas nearly a year after the pandemic began – 4800 are classed as “vulnerable”.
Emirates was the first airline to announce it will suspend all flights to Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, “due to operational reasons”. This is not surprising given the low numbers they are allowed to carry. The airline will not operate routes at a loss, given the precarious situation the whole travel industry is in. The rules have meant that flights were often flying out of Australia empty and the strict rules for crew were extremely difficult to manage. The move will drop 19 Emirates flights per week with just the Dubai-Perth flights left operating.
Qatar Airways, Etihad Airways, Singapore Airlines and Japan Airlines are still running flights to Australia for people in Europe but the new restrictions are likely to lead to further delays and cancellations.