Man fined £7,000 for leaving Covid quarantine hotel room to smoke

Umer Draz flew into the UK from Pakistan in April last year with his wife and children, the family were ordered to isolate in a room at the Leonardo Hotel near Heathrow Airport.

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A man has been fined £7,000 after repeatedly leaving a Covid quarantine hotel room to smoke, when his wife had tested positive for coronavirus.

Umer Draz flew into the UK from Pakistan in April last year with his wife and children, the family were ordered to isolate in a room at the Leonardo Hotel near Heathrow Airport.

After Mr Draz repeatedly left his hotel room, hotel staff contacted police on April 23 last year and accused him of refusing to stay in his room.

PC Danielle Scott told Westminster magistrates court she confronted Mr Draz about his behaviour.

“I explained over at least a 20-minute period of how important it was to self-isolate and how he was putting everyone at risk by leaving the room to smoke and entertain his young children,” she said.

“Umer Draz and his wife were more interested about getting a larger room for their family, which I did try to accommodate but the hotel was full at the time and staff couldn’t provide this at their request.

“I explained multiple times how everyone needed to play their part.”

The family had arrived in the hotel on April 19, with Mr Draz’s wife testing positive for coronavirus two days later.

The Met Police stated that Mr Draz knew the rules about not being allowed to leave his hotel room, with him complaining about staff refusing to accompany him on smoking breaks.

After failing to enter a plea he was convicted of a breach of Covid travel rules, which took place at a time that Pakistan was on the Department for Transport’s red travel list.

Mr Draz received a fine of £7,000 plus was ordered to pay costs and fees of £290 in a court hearing earlier this month.

Another individual, named Serena Webb, was also fined £7,000 for leaving her designation quarantine hotel within a mere two hours of arriving.

Two days later, officers went to her home in Colliers Wood, southwest London, and spoke to her through a window.

Webb and her children, aged two and five, were escorted back to the hotel when she was told she would be prosecuted.

The court heard Webb had expressed concern at the hotel “regarding the amount of food choices, being allowed out of their room by some staff and not others, not having a bowl to warm milk for the children and finding some of the security intimidating”.

A third defendant, Mark Freeman, 39, from Liverpool, was fined £6,000 for leaving his quarantine hotel within hours of arriving into the UK on a flight from Dubai on March 31, 2021.

All three defendants are prosecuted through the Single Justice Procedure, in behind-closed-doors hearings at Westminster magistrates court among scores of other Covid-19 offences.