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Coronavirus: ‘My Mother Wanted One Last Holiday’

September 7, 2020

When Derek Burt’s mother was diagnosed with a terminal illness six weeks ago, she asked for one more trip – a holiday with her family.

“MND is such an evil and unpredictable disease,” Mr Burt says.

“We have no idea if she will be able to go on a family holiday with us when all the Covid craziness is over, so had to make the tough decision and deliver on one of her wishes now.”

With trips to Florida and Croatia already cancelled, they settled on Portugal when quarantine restrictions were lifted two weeks ago.

But now the family from Dunfermline in Fife is having to race to get home from the Algarve to beat the new restrictions that come into force at 04:00 on Saturday in Scotland.

Their original flight is due to land seven hours later.

Mr Burt says the family researched different holidays and tried to follow the guidance available, but “nobody has a clue what the governments are thinking”.

“We cancelled Florida as her condition deteriorated as she wouldn’t be able to get around,” he says.

“We then decided on Croatia. One week after booking, time to cancel Croatia one week before we were due to fly as it was withdrawn from the travel corridor.”

Although the virus rates seemed on the high-side in Portugal, he “assumed the government knew what they were doing” and would not return the country to the quarantine list. So the family travelled to the Algarve.

“How stupid was I to show any faith in our countries’ decision-makers?” he says.

Scotland’s new quarantine rules come into force at 04:00 on Saturday and include French Polynesia as well as Portugal. Quarantine has already been reintroduced for arrivals from Greece.

In Wales, those travelling from Portugal and six Greek islands have to self-isolate.

Portugal, Greece and French Polynesia are still on England and Northern Ireland’s lists of travel corridors.

Mr Burt says he is “incredibly frustrated” by the decision of the Scottish and Welsh governments to impose quarantine rules, describing it as a “complete shambles”.

But he says they have had an amazing week, and his mother was able to fulfil her wish to watch her grandchildren playing in the pool of their villa.

“That’s all that matters,” he says.

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