Girl's hotel quarantine means hug with mum is put on hold

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The Wong family are among the first travellers to Scotland to face hotel quarantine

A family, desperate to be reunited after 16 months apart, will have to wait an extra 10 days before they can be together.

Eight-year-old Kiernan Wong and her father Chun were among the first arrivals at Edinburgh Airport on the first day of new travel measures.

They had already been held back by a disrupted immigration process.

Instead of an emotional reunion, father and daughter were whisked away to a quarantine hotel to self isolate.

Mum Danielle has been in Scotland since November 2019. A dual UK/US citizen, she is a front-line worker, involved in the care of people with addictions.

But the plan for her husband and daughter to join her in Glenrothes, Fife, was hit by the pandemic.

'A lot of heartache'

Danielle said: "Because of Covid, immigration was completely shut down. So what would normally have been a six-month process has turned into 16 months - and a lot of heartache.

"I've missed holidays, I've missed birthdays," she said. "And then on top of that both Chun and Kiernan both contracted Covid, so watching that from Facetime and not being able to be there was extremely difficult."

Image source, Danielle Wong
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Danielle Wong has not seen Kiernan for 16 months

Both parents agree that the rules must be followed and both understand the reasons for them.

But they are frustrated that after waiting for so long, and being asked to arrive before 3 March to collect visas, they ended up arriving on day one of travel quarantine.

All arrivals must isolate for 10 days in a quarantine hotel in Scotland. In England this only applies to people from 33 "red list" countries.

Danielle said: "I think what is frustrating and what needs to be remembered is there are visa processes in place.

"This wasn't a choice, they had to come by a particular date or the visa would be null and void. Unfortunately, their date of arrival was the date that this started. "

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Chun Wong and his daughter Kiernan were among the first arrivals at Edinburgh Airport who needed to quarantine in a hotel
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Home for the next 10 days: Chun and Kiernan's quarantine hotel room

However, she accepts what has to happen.

"Theoretically, another 10/11 days is a drop in the bucket for how long we have had to wait. But I can't wait to give her a hug. It's been too long."

Chun and Kiernan have settled into the hotel room that will be their fist experience of Scotland as well as their home for the next 10 days.

He and his wife have had to pay about £2,500 for the stay, on top of about £10,000 in immigration fees.

Travellers who are required to self-isolate in hotels have to pay £1,750 each, plus an extra fee for additional isolating guests for their managed quarantine.

Chun, who worked in healthcare in the US, also accepts the process is necessary. Even though he was fully vaccinated in America.

Image source, Danielle Wong
Image caption,
The family will be reunited on 26 February after the quarantine period has ended

He said: "The one drawback is that the expense is a little much, but you do what you have got to do to keep everyone safe. I understand it's better to be safe than sorry.

"It sucks that we have to be here another 10 days and it's coming out of my pocket but these are lives we are talking about here."

And Keirnan is also taking it in her stride.

"I am kind of upset that I can't see my mum," she said. "But I am kind of ok because at least we are in Scotland now."

Chun told reporters at the airport he would do whatever it takes.

He said he was preparing to play a lot of board games with his daughter and might teach her poker before the family is reunited on 26 February.