Children travelling alone to Scotland will no longer have to go into hotel quarantine

A U-turn by the Scottish Government means children travelling alone to Scotland from abroad will now be allowed to self-isolate at home rather than having to stay in a hotel.

The change of heart was welcomed today by Antonio Caraballo who spent ten days quarantining with his ten-year-old son Sami in a hotel room near Edinburgh Airport after the boy had flown in from Finland where he lives with his mother, for a fortnight’s holiday.

Sami had been cleared to fly without a hotel booking for quarantine after officials agreed he could isolate at the family home but on arrival in Edinburgh he was told he would have to go to a hotel after all and Mr Caraballo had no option but to join him.

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It meant Sami had only three days with the rest of the family before having to return to Finland.

Antonio Caraballo and son Sami had to quarantine in a hotel at Edinburgh Airport

Mr Caraballo was expecting to have to arrange for him to travel via England to avoid a repeat of the situation when he comes back in the summer, but the change in the rules was approved in secondary legislation agreed by the Scottish Parliament just before it broke up for the elections.

Mr Caraballo said: "I’m very happy to know that common sense has prevailed and relieved we don’t have to find loopholes.

“I’m pleased they finally understood they did something wrong and took ownership of that, but it doesn’t take away the fact we’re upset we were forced to stay in isolation when it made no sense and that the government stole family time from my son completely unnecessarily.”

He said he had tried repeatedly to put his case to the authorities while he was at the hotel but was never even given a phone number.

“There should be lessons learned here that there should be someone accountable that families who have been quarantined have an opportunity to explain their specific situation.”

And he said he was sorry the change in rules did not apply in cases where a parent went to collect a child and fly back with them – they would still be required to go into hotel quarantine.

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “These regulations are kept under regular review. This change was made to recognise unaccompanied children may be particularly vulnerable”.

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