As a result of a new covid variant, the Scottish Government announced that all travellers returning to Scotland from South Africa are required to self-isolate in a managed quarantine hotel and take two PCR tests after arrival, regardless of vaccination status, from midday Friday November 26 onwards.
This has significantly impacted the honeymoon of 29-year-old doctor Cat Holligan from Edinburgh and her partner Grant.
The pair married at the end of July this year and had flown off to planned a honeymoon in South Africa at the end of November.
However, this soon turned into disaster when the new travel rules came into place on Friday.
Newly-married Cat Holligan said: “We landed 8am South African time this morning and received lots of WhatsApp messages from friends and family that South Africa had gone on red list.
“British Airways didn’t say anything when we landed or disembarked.
“We immediately went to ask airlines for flights home and we were told there weren’t any.
“We spent the last few hours researching flights but all appear to be grounded for next couple of days, no availability.”
Asked how she felt about realising she could not get home, Cat said: “Devastated, I just burst into tears.
“Also, overwhelmed as it was difficult to get any information, no one at the airport can help.”
Dr Holligan and her partner spoke with airline representatives at Cape Town international who said there were no flights and her family back home contacted other airlines including Emirates but told her there was no availability.
She said she was unable to get in touch with anyone at Scottish Government and tried to call the British Embassy in South Africa but she said because their issue was travel related they were just directed to the foreign office website.
Currently, Dr Holligan and her husband’s main concern is the inevitability of spending their honeymoon in a 10-day hotel quarantine.
She said: “Returning before the 4am deadline is impossible due to no flights leaving Cape Town.
"This means that the 10 day hotel quarantine is inevitable.
“It’s not clear how much money we will be able to claim back and now we will have to spend our honeymoon in quarantine and pay for that on top of our now cancelled honeymoon.
The couple hope to get a flight back home to Edinburgh in the next day or two but know they will still have to experience a hotel quarantine instead of their planned South African honeymoon.
The couple are urging anyone who may be able to help them get two seats on a flight home to the UK on Friday to get in touch with them as soon as possible.
Dr Holligan said: “If there was any way of getting two seats on a flight home to the UK today we would love to get home as soon as possible.”