Leicester

Zika-fear mum-to-be can stay in UK to have baby

Simon Ellis and Deiseane 'Daisy' Santiago
Image caption Deiseane 'Daisy' Santiago, from São Paulo, met Simon Ellis online three-and-a-half years ago

A pregnant woman who faced deportation back to her native Brazil despite the Zika virus has been told she can now stay in the UK to have her baby.

Deiseane Santiago became pregnant in January while visiting her fiancé in Leicestershire on a five-month visa.

Her initial application for a visa extension was denied and the Home Office said she would have to return.

But after reviewing the case in light of Public Health England advice it agreed she could stay until October.

In June, the 22-year-old, also known as Daisy, was told she faced deportation despite Public Health England recommending pregnant women do not travel to Zika hotspots.

The infection is suspected of leading to thousands of babies with underdeveloped brains.

Image copyright Cathy Phillips
Image caption Miss Santiago (middle) and Mr Ellis (right) - pictured with Mr Ellis' mother - intend to settle in Brazil

The Home Office had initially said the health advice only applied to British nationals.

But Miss Santiago's fiancé, Simon Ellis, from Kegworth, called the decision "racist and discriminatory".

The Home Office reviewed the case and decided Miss Santiago could now remain until 31 October on an "exceptional basis".

A friend of the couple, Susan Cooke, said: "We are very happy, very relieved that Daisy and Simon can start to relax and enjoy the pregnancy. They were dreadfully worried.

"We are very grateful the Home Office has changed its mind."

Zika virus: What you need to know

  • Deaths are rare and only one-in-five people infected is thought to develop symptoms which include conjunctivitis, headaches, joint pain and rashes
  • There is no vaccine or drug treatment so patients are advised to rest and drink plenty of fluids
  • The infection is suspected of leading to thousands of babies with underdeveloped brains

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