Desperate new father trapped in Mexico says he "hasn't slept" after red list news

5 August 2021, 14:49 | Updated: 5 August 2021, 15:05

By Sophie Barnett

A new father who flew to Mexico for the birth of his son said he "hasn't slept" after it was announced the country will be moved to the UK's red list.

Speaking to Shelagh Fogarty on LBC, Aaron, from Scotland, told of his frustration at the "astronomical" price of staying in a quarantine hotel in the UK on return from a red list country.

The new dad, who flew to Mexico for the birth of his son six days ago, would need to land home in Scotland by 4am on Sunday to avoid having to pay for the 10-day stay in a government managed hotel.

He is relocating his family to Edinburgh in late August and could now have to pay for them all to quarantine on arrival.

In last night's announcement, Mexico was one of four countries to be moved onto the red list, after the government said they "present a high public health risk" to the UK.

Mexico will be moved to the red list from 4am on Sunday meaning travellers returning to the UK will have to quarantine for 10 days
Mexico will be moved to the red list from 4am on Sunday meaning travellers returning to the UK will have to quarantine for 10 days. Picture: Alamy

This means anyone travelling home from Mexico, Georgia, La Reunion and Mayotte will have to pre-book their quarantine hotel for a fee of £1,750 for an adult from Sunday onwards. From August 12 this price will almost double to £2,285, to "better reflect the increased costs involved", the government said.

Read more: Fully-vaccinated arrivals from France no longer need to isolate amid green list changes

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Aaron, 43, arrived in Mexico in early July to witness the birth of his son, Aviv, and his wife, who is from Sinaloa, had her UK visa approved on July 28.

The self-employed data and audiovisual engineer said he "can't quantify" how much quarantining will cost his business.

He was due to return home on August 20, with his wife and son flying to Scotland in late September.

He said he is unable to fly home before Sunday as he has to register his son's birth officially next week.

"It's going to be impossible," he told Shelagh.

"Everything is all up in the air. I’m self-employed so I have to come back. Now I have to decide whether I come back and pay the exorbitant amount for the quarantine hotel, which actually goes up on the 12th of August, or I travel back via Schiphol airport in Amsterdam to try and stay there for 10 days, and then move back to the UK afterwards when the 10 days has lapsed.

"The whole thing to me doesn’t make any sense whatsoever. I’ve not had a moments sleep all night."

Asked about the prospect of Mexico staying on the red list into late September, Aaron said: “That would put me with a great set of problems because we have a temporary visa, which means my wife and son would have to be here (Scotland) by a date in October.

"I don’t know whether we can extend it, or if we do whether there will be a fee involved, but what angers me the most is the quarantine situation. To charge someone £1,750 for 10 days, and then £2,250 from the 12th of August is absolutely astronomical."

Aaron is one of many people trapped in Mexico, with mum Claudia only landing in the country yesterday.

She described the situation as a "nightmare", explaining how she has postponed the trip for two years and thought now was the right time to visit her family.

"What a nightmare this is. I am now trying to get back to the UK tonight or tomorrow, but unfortunately British Airways has confirmed that there are no seats available for me and my two daughters so I won’t be able to return to the UK in time.

"I can’t afford to pay the quarantine hotel it’s just a ridiculous price. I am fully vaccinated too."

Read more: Changes unveiled to foreign travel traffic light system - full list

Under the new rules, which come into effect at 4am on Sunday, India, Bahrain, Qatar and the UAE will all be moved from the red to the amber list as the situation in these countries has improved.

Austria, Germany, Slovenia, Slovakia, Latvia, Romania and Norway will be added to the government’s green list for travel, and those travelling to the UK from France will no longer need to quarantine - with its confusing amber watchlist scrapped.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps told LBC on Thursday the new changes to the traffic light system allows holidaymakers to travel abroad without "looking over their shoulders" in fear of being caught out by changing rules.

He also promised there would be no changes to the green, amber and red lists for the rest of August.