03 March 2021

Student ‘still waiting for Covid tests 12 days after arriving in UK’

03 March 2021

A student who has been self-isolating since arriving in the UK nearly two weeks ago says he still has not received a Covid test and will have to leave his accommodation without being tested.

Tony Cherian, 35, arrived at Heathrow Airport from Kerala in India on February 19 and moved to rented accommodation in Leicester which he had booked in advance only for the period of his mandatory self-isolation.

But Mr Cherian, who is studying hospitality management at Oxford Brookes University, said he has not received either of the two Covid tests he pre-booked – one for the second day of his isolation and one for the eighth.

With his short-term rental over, his landlord is insisting he moves out, so he is intending to stay with family friends in Coventry where he plans to continue to self-isolate indefinitely.

Arrivals at Heathrow (PA Wire)

He told the PA news agency: “If someone got to India, or Kerala, the government would take care of them.

“Everything will be very arranged and organised – there will be someone to help, there will be someone to arrange everything.

“But here? Nobody even knows. It’s really frustrating here.”

Mr Cherian said he had called Corporate Travel Management (CTM), the company responsible for providing the tests, “more than 30 times” but has been met with an automated message each time.

He has also emailed and sent messages by Twitter, but still received no answer.

He even called the police but they were unable to provide guidance.

Now he is preparing to travel to Coventry but is worried he may get into trouble for doing so.

“It’s really difficult,” he said. “Even the people who’ve lived here for a long time – my family friends, even they don’t know what to do. Even the police don’t know what to do.

“And I just don’t know what to do.”

There have been multiple reports of pre-booked testing kits failing to arrive in similar situations, but the Government said they were not aware of any problem.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “There are no specific issues with fulfilment or deliveries of test kits, provided the correct details are given at the point the booking is made.”

Mr Cherian insists he completed all the necessary applications as instructed and has “given everything correctly”.

He added that the experience has changed the way he views the UK.

“To have it happening like this is really disappointing,” he said.

CTM has been contacted for comment.

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