A Leek community leader who went into quarantine after a trip to rural France has raised concerns about the lack of Covid-19 checks and tests.
But since returning to the UK, no checks have taken place to ensure she is following the government guidance.
The council’s director of health and care Dr Richard Harling said the quarantine systems relies almost entirely on trust.
Councillor Atkins said: “I wanted to share my experiences of quarantine because I haven’t been very impressed.
“First of all I was required to fill in an online form. I don’t know how many people normally go on holiday and have that sort of facility available, because when I got to our French airport there was no opportunity to fill in a written form to give the Government any details of where I would be after I returned to the UK.
“There was nothing on the plane, which was 20 per cent full, to indicate that a form should be filled in. There was nothing at either airport, there was no testing offered.
“Since I have returned home there has been absolutely no checks whatsoever despite the fact I filled in the online form, sent it off to the appropriate authority and France was identified as an area which required quarantine.
“I’m sure that for most people, especially those people that suffer financially from quarantine, it’s very likely that they are not quarantining. I didn’t come into contact anywhere with anyone who had Covid-19 – it was the middle of rural France – and I’m very happy to quarantine, it doesn’t create for me a problem.
“But there will be people who come from more risky areas who won’t quarantine simply because there are no checks. Unfortunately we can’t always rely on people’s good will.”
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Other concerns were raised at the Corporate Review Committee meeting about the enforcement of quarantine.
Councillor Sue Woodward said “I’ve had friends return from abroad who have not been tested at the airport, not been given advice and simply quarantining themselves because they want to make sure they’re complying.
“That isn’t the case with lots of residents and I wondered what’s happening about those people in Staffordshire who are returning from abroad, who should be quarantining and possibly are not. Are we doing anything to encourage that sort of quarantining to take place?
“It’s very difficult for some people to quarantine, particularly if they are on low income and need to bring in the family income. Perhaps that’s an area where we should be lobbying Government more, just to ensure there is greater compliance with quarantine being imposed.”
But Dr Harling said: “The quarantine for returning travellers is a system that relies almost entirely on trust, so we certainly don’t get told who’s returning from different countries or where they live.
“It relies on those individuals being responsible and if they are coming back from a country that requires 14 days of quarantine then they take themselves home and stay at home for 14 days.
“I don’t believe there is any enforcement of that by national bodies – we don’t know who they are. It’s up to those individuals to do it for themselves.
“Quarantine is almost entirely a voluntary endeavour as I understand it. As an authority we don’t have the power to compel individuals to do anything – we can take action against businesses but with people we rely on them acting responsibly and in the collective interest.
“We have to hope that most of the people follow most of the guidance most of the time.”