Teacher, 35, who flew back from Dubai is REFUSED permission to see her mother’s body
A teacher being ‘treated like a prisoner’ has slammed the government’s ‘complete lack of compassion’ after she was refused permission to leave quarantine to see her dead mother’s body prior to her funeral.
Mary Garvey is currently stuck in hotel quarantine after flying back from Dubai in the United Arab Emirates on March 31 to see her dying mother.
But she landed in Birmingham the following day to the news that her mother Margaret Garvey, who suffered from a brain tumour, had died a few hours earlier.
Her tragic passing rendered the exemption letter Ms Garvey was carrying stating that she was visiting a gravely ill relative totally useless.
Instead she was forced into a 10-day quarantine at the Holiday Inn Express in the Midlands.
The grieving 35-year-old has appealed to the government to allow her to leave the enforced-quarantine and visit her mother for a final time.
But the authorities have refused her request to visit the body and said she is only eligible for an 18-hour release on the day of the funeral, The National reports.
Ms Garvey told MailOnline how she began ‘crying hysterically’ when she switched on her phone after her flight landed to read the news that her mother had passed away.
The teacher said she is ‘very, very angry’ with the Government over her treatment – and hopes to be given permission to carry out the rest of her quarantine with her grieving family at home.
Mary Garvey, 35, flew to the UK from Dubai to visit her dying mother, but was told when she landed that her mum had died earlier that day
Ms Garvey told MailOnline how she began ‘crying hysterically’ when she switched on her phone after her flight landed to read the news that her mother (pictured with her daughter left, and right) had passed away
She said: ‘Border force were nice to me, but that might have been because I was hysterically crying.
‘They asked for an exemption, but obviously there wasn’t one.’
She is only allowed out of the hotel for an 18-hour window for the funeral.
But that would involve her 67-year-old father driving a 266 mile-round trip from Birmingham to York to pick her up and drop her off.
She added: ‘My father would have to come and get me on the day that he buries his wife. It is disgusting.’
Ms Garvey shared pictures and video of the sub-par food she has been provided in her hotel room
Officials also suggested that her father pays to quarantine with her in the red-list hotel to offer support.
Ms Garvey said: ‘The fact that they even think it is acceptable to suggest that my 75-year-old father would drive to Birmingham and quarantine with me… It doesn’t make any sense.
‘I am very, very angry with the UK. With the UK Government.
Officials also suggested that her father pays to quarantine with her in the red-list hotel to offer support. Pictured: Ms Garvey’s room
‘I feel like I never want to come back to this country again. I think its treatment of its citizens is disgusting.’
Ms Garvey shared pictures and video of the sub-par food she has been provided in her hotel room. It included rock-hard bread and frozen-solid fruit bowls.
Ms Garvey’s local MP, Rachael Maskell, slammed the government response telling MailOnline: ‘She is being treated like a prisoner and that’s how she sees it when her only crime is her mum dying.
‘That is a tragedy. This is about keeping the country safe. It’s not about criminalising an individual.
Ms Garvey was then forced into a 10-day quarantine at the Holiday Inn Express in the Midlands where she has been refused permission by a government spokesperson to visit her mother’s body. Pictured: Ms Garvey’s family
‘Yet the treatment she is receiving is really poor. It’s impacting on everyone’s wellbeing at a time when she really needs support.’
Ms Garvey, a Dubai resident who has lived there for four years, said: ‘I have no choice but to just deal with the complete lack of compassion.
‘On reflection, I am appalled at the complete lack of mental health support.’
Mandatory hotel quarantines were introduced for international passengers arriving from ‘red list’ countries on February 15.
This includes Dubai, while other high Covid risk countries including Brazil and Portugal are also on the list.
The system was introduced in reaction to new variants of Covid that were seen in places such as Brazil and South Africa.
Travellers must spend ten days in quarantine at their own cost if they return to the UK on direct flights from any of ‘red list’ locations.
Ms Garvey is due to finish her quarantine on April 11 and will be able to attend the funeral on April 12.
Ms Garvey’s local MP, Rachael Maskell, (pictured) has been trying to secure her release on compassionate grounds and said the teacher, 35, is being ‘treated like a prisoner’
In the meantime, she has been forced to help her 67-year-old father organise the funeral over Zoom.
She has been working with her local Labour MP Ms Maskell who has been trying to secure her release on compassionate grounds.
The Member of Parliament for York Central has contacted Health Secretary Matt Hancock and the Prime Minister’s office, but feels her inquiries are being ignored.
She said: ‘I am incredibly frustrated a the lack of engagement I am getting.
‘Three days have been lost that this family could have been kept together.
‘The system itself does not support individuals in distress or grief, when they need that support. This is a deficiency in the system.
‘It is frustrating because all they are asking is to do the quarantine at home where they would comply with isolation and testing requirements.
‘This will only escalate their grief and the damage this is causing is of great concern to me.’
Despite Ms Maskell’s intervention a government spokesperson has insisted Ms Garvey must complete her 10 day quarantine as she does not meet any of the exemptions to the strict policy.
Examptions include attending to emergencies, visiting critically ill relatives or attending a funeral.
Ms Garvey is six days into a 10-day quarantine at the Holiday Inn Express in the Midlands. Pictured: Her hotel room
Ms Garvey says the government has shown a ‘complete lack of compassion’ to her situation. Pictured: A meal provided during her hotel quarantine stay
Recalling the government official’s response to her pleas, Ms Garvey told The National: ‘The only compromise they came up with was that my 67-year-old father, who has just lost his wife, travel up to Birmingham and quarantine in the hotel with me, at full cost.
‘The responses on email have been so cold, like a tick-list approach.
‘I think they need to look at each individual case as human beings.
‘The way the pandemic was initially handled by the government was ridiculous and it is policies like this where they are taking it out on their citizens.’
Ms Garvey’s situation is only of many similar stories where people have complained of the damage the enforced hotel quarantine is doing to their health.
The father of a teenager with autism who was forced to quarantine in a hotel at Heathrow said the experience left his son depressed, physically unwell and unable to eat properly.
Nelio Salles De Siqueira, a chef from Peckham in south London, said 16-year-old Caique Pires Salles would barely leave his bed after being forced to stay at the Holiday Inn near the airport following their return to the UK from Brazil.
He spoke of his anguish at being unable to help as his son begged to be taken home, despite notes from his psychiatrist and school warning that the experience would be ‘psychologically unhealthy’.
Mr Salles De Siqueira travelled to Brazil with his wife and son to attend a family funeral and, while they were there, new rules on quarantining for people returning to England from red list countries were introduced.
‘It’s quite frustrating that he had to go through it,’ Mr Salles De Siqueira said.
Another quarantine hotel guest previously complained the Government was breaching her human rights by forcing her to stay there when she could self-isolate in her home and has tested negative for Covid-19.
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