Edinburgh boy returns home after 11 days trapped in a Covid quarantine hotel

A 10-year-old boy fled hotel quarantine with his dad on the stroke of midnight last night after their “horrifying” stay was extended at the eleventh hour.

Wednesday, 3rd March 2021, 12:30 pm
Updated Wednesday, 3rd March 2021, 2:23 pm
Antonio Caraballo, 44, believed his son Sami, 10, would be allowed to isolate at home due to his age.
Antonio Caraballo, 44, believed his son Sami, 10, would be allowed to isolate at home due to his age.

Last month Sami Caraballo flew from Finland to be reunited with his dad but found himself escorted to an Edinburgh airport hotel having landed under Scotland’s strict new Covid-19 travel restrictions.

Father Antonio Caraballo, 44, believed his son would be allowed to isolate at home due to his age but was forced to stump up £2,400 to join him in quarantine for the majority of his two-week trip, organised to give him quality time with his family after his Christmas visit was cancelled.

And the pair were dealt another blow when they tried to finally check out yesterday morning and learned they still had another 24 hours left in isolation.

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Antonio Caraballo was forced to stump up £2,400 to join son Sami in quarantine for the majority of his two-week trip.

Desperate to spend Sami’s final few days in Edinburgh at their Marchmont home the father and son fled the hotel.

Mr Caraballo said: “We understood check out was going to be Tuesday and we could go anytime after midnight on day 11, but check in is classed as day zero so it’s actually day 12.

“Someone came on Monday morning and asked me to show on my mobile phone that the test was negative and we had a discussion about my departure.

“My wife then came and collected all of our luggage to make it easier for us to wake up and make our way home, so we had nothing left here.

“At around 9pm I called reception to book a taxi for midnight and they explained to me I could not be released.

“Sami was quite upset. He was ready to go and was looking forward to seeing his sister and all the things I’d promised him when he gets home.”

Finally arriving home in the early hours of this morning Sami’s three-year-old sister was so pleased to see her brother she insisted he sleep in her room.

Happy to be reunited, the family are trying to enjoy their final days together but Mr Caraballo said he is devastated for his son and is intending to pursue legal action.

He said: “It’s an absolute disgrace the way Sami has been treated, I am incredibly angry for him. I asked my son for his views of the time in the hotel and he just said ‘horrible’.”

Mr Caraballo, a key worker for an oil and gas firm, previously branded the regulations “draconian” - saying Sami only had 15 minutes of fresh air each day during an escorted tour of the hotel’s car park and wouldn’t eat his meals.

Ian Murray, Labour MP for Edinburgh South, penned an “urgent letter” to the Scottish Government calling for the circumstances of the family’s case to be considered.

The MP said: “The Scottish Government introduced their hastily arranged quarantine policy a year too late. That left a 10-year-old boy locked in a hotel room.

“It is incumbent on Scottish Ministers to realise the impact this has on a child and his family but they have chosen not to bother responding to repeated requests to look at their case.

“I probably will get a response but it’ll be after the quarantine is over. It’s simply not good enough.”

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