Repatriated seamen freed from hotel quarantine after being forced to isolate despite exemption

Two repatriated seamen have been allowed to leave the quarantine hotel at Edinburgh Airport after being forced to check-in, despite being legally exempt according to Scottish government guidance.

Gordon Percy, 62, and his partner Stephany, flew into Edinburgh Airport on Sunday, March, 28, from Paris, under the impression that as repatriated seamen, they were exempt from having to isolate.

However, when they arrived, officers at border control told them that the rules had changed the night before and they had no option but to go into isolation.

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The couple, frustrated and confused, paid £2,400 upfront for their ten-day stay before proceeding to argue with the Scottish government that they were still exempt, even under the new rules.

Gordon Percy and his partner, Stephany, back home with his 89-year-old mum.

They received an email from the government at around 5pm on Tuesday, roughly 48 hours after being forced to check-in, saying they could "exit managed isolation immediately” as they “fit the definition of repatriation.”

Speaking this morning, Mr Percy said: “We’re just so relieved, honestly the whole thing was absolutely awful.

"From start to finish, absolutely awful.”

They were welcomed home by Mr Percy’s 89-year-old mother, who had been distraught when she found out they couldn’t return to care for her.

His sister had been caring for their mum but as Mr Percy was due to arrive home on Sunday, she left and returned to her own home.

He said that his mother was “over the moon” to hear that the government had granted them permission to leave early, as the couple being forced into the quarantine hotel meant that she was going to have to look after herself for the ten days.

My Percy continued: “I know it sounds like i’m being dramatic when I say this, but honestly it was like prison.

"Security guards on every floor, we weren’t able to open the window, the room was beginning to smell, we were given some out of date food, it really was one of the worst experiences”

While he is glad to be home, Mr Percy remains in disbelief that it happened and that they didn’t receive any apology for the troubling experience.

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “The website has now been updated, which makes clear that repatriated seafarers continue to be exempt from managed isolation.

“We apologise for any inconvenience and distress caused.”

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