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Tories seek solution for oil and gas workers ‘trapped’ in hotel quarantine

Concerns have been raised over the wellbeing of employees stuck in hotel quarantine.
Concerns have been raised over the wellbeing of employees stuck in hotel quarantine.

The Scottish Conservatives have called for a solution to help oil and gas workers returning from ‘red list’ countries and forced to quarantine.

Concerns have been raised over the wellbeing of employees stuck in hotel quarantine after entering Scotland from a number of oil-producing countries in the Middle East.

North-east region MSP Liam Kerr spoke on behalf of the workers who he said are “subject to some of the most rigorous Covid testing” and are often double-jabbed.

Those returning from ‘red list’ countries must still isolate for 10 days in a hotel at a cost of £1,750.

Nicola Sturgeon announced on Tuesday that Scotland will move to Level 0 from next week.

However, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon told Mr Kerr during her latest Covid statement to the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday, that home quarantine for “particular groups of critical workers” is under review for August.

Oil workers ‘feel trapped’

Mr Kerr told the first minister he had received “yet another email” from an overseas oil and gas worker on Tuesday.

He said: “He feels trapped and says ‘I don’t think mentally I can go through another 10-day hotel quarantine’.

“Oil and gas workers are subject to the most rigorous Covid testing, have often been double jabbed and often haven’t left the installation.

“Yet they are forced to spend 10 days and three quarters of their wages in a hotel.”

In response, Ms Sturgeon said home quarantine for “particular groups of critical workers” is under review, if Scotland moves beyond Level 0 from August.

She added: “We need to continue to take proportionate action that helps to keep the country as safe as possible from new variants.

“We are currently dealing with the implications of a new very fast transmitting variant seeding into this country and I think this underlines – while I understand all these frustrations – we must do everything we can to prevent that happening again.”

‘Disgusting state’ of rooms

Aberdeenshire West MSP Alexander Burnett also quizzed the first minister over the “disgusting state” of an Edinburgh hotel room provided for a constituent who had come home from Qatar.

Alexander Burnett lodged a motion in the Scottish Parliament.
Alexander Burnett raised concerns around the standard of hotel rooms oil and gas workers are forced to isolate in.

The oil worker told Mr Burnett his hotel room had “clearly not been deep-cleaned” and as a result they were “concerned they are at risk of contracting Covid-19”.

Ms Sturgeon said the hotel quarantine contract is overseen and managed by the UK Government and would pass on those concerns to them.

But she added the Scottish Government would do “everything we can” to set an acceptable standard for the rooms.

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