‘I just told her to run to mummy’: US family’s emotional reunion after Edinburgh hotel quarantine ‘error’
A father and his eight-year-old daughter, wrongly quarantined under Scotland's new hotel isolation rules, have finally been reunited with the girl’s mother.
Chun Wong and daughter Kiernan arrived at Edinburgh airport on Monday and were set to spend 10 days self-isolating in a nearby hotel.
However, Mr Wong was contacted by officials later that evening to tell him he did not need to abide by the rules because he had spent a short time in Dublin.
Mr Wong worked in healthcare in the US, but travelled to Scotland to be with Kiernan's mum, Danielle.
A dual UK/US citizen, his wife is a front-line worker who has been in the country since November 2019. But the family had been separated for 16 months.
Understandably, Mr Wong and Kiernan were desperate to be reunited with Danielle – and finally, on Tuesday afternoon, they got their wish.
Speaking to the BBC, Mrs Wong recalled the moment she finally got to cuddle little Kiernan for the first time 16 months.
She said: “I have never had that level of anxiety on my life. My legs were shaking so much and when she came out of the hotel she was scared to run to me. It was lovely and I didn't want to let her go.”
Mr Wong added: “I just told her to run to mummy. What a reunion to remember.”
Father and daughter are now self-isolating at the family home in Glenrothes, Fife.
A Scottish Government spokesman said: “We are looking into the circumstances that led to Mr Wong being wrongly advised he needed to book a managed isolation package and would like to thank the family for their patience.
“This is a very new system, being implemented at pace, and some initial challenges are to be expected.
“However, once the error was identified, the family were contacted and advised they could make alternative arrangements for their self-isolation period.
“We are following up with the travel management company to ensure a full refund is provided to Mr Wong.”
People flying directly into a Scottish airport on international flights have to self-isolate for 10 days in a quarantine hotel room, under new regulations taking effect on Monday.
Unless exempt, a passenger will have to pay £1,750 to quarantine in a room at one of six designated hotels in a bid to avoid importation of the virus.
In England, the UK Government will only require hotel quarantine for visitors from a “red list” of 33 countries designated as high risk, meaning travellers arriving from elsewhere could avoid it by entering Scotland via England.
It also applies to those flying from the common travel area, which includes Ireland.
Visitors would still have to self-isolate for the 10-day period, but would not have to do so at one of the designated hotels due to a lack of agreement between Scottish and Westminster governments.
The Scottish Conservatives transport spokesman Graham Simpson MSP said the family “should never have been put in a hotel in the first place”, adding that the quarantine scheme had been a “shambles”.