A grieving family has blasted the Government’s hastily-ordered new quarantine rules which throws their plans to repatriate the body of a loved one and organise his funeral into turmoil.
The ‘crazy’ regulations have a devastating impact on the Mortiboys, who returned from Spain today after travelling there to bid an agonising farewell to a family member while switching off his life support machine.
James Mortiboys, 44, tragically died during a recent holiday in Barcelona with friends.
His bereaved brother company director Anthony Mortiboys, returning to Birmingham Airport with his wife, niece and parents, said: ‘The new restrictions are crazy and very annoying. They will adversely effect many people and will cause a lot of extra grief for our family.
‘I have just lost my big brother. We’ve got a funeral to arrange and a body to bring home and we’re not sure how we’re meant to do it if we’re all in quarantine for two weeks.
‘It’s a nightmare and there’s been no help or support whatsoever from the authorities.’
Anthony, 41, from Nuneaton, Warwickshire, told MailOnline how his older sibling was left battling for life after nearly drowning in the sea.
He explained: ‘My brother was fit and healthy but suddenly had a seizure while he was swimming. He drowned but was was put on a life support.
‘The family went out last week to see him in hospital and had to make the heartbreaking decision to switch off his life support.’
The body of carer James has been due to brought home later this week by his dad and brother.
His father David said: ‘We has been due to go back to Barcelona to bring my son home but now we have to quarantine and how can we organise the funeral properly? We can’t. It is all such a mess.’
His tearful wife Christine was too upset to speak.
Anthony, also accompanied by James‘ daughter 15-year-old Abi, added: ‘But it is what it is and it has to be done. We just weren’t expecting to have to go into a fortnight’s quarantine on our return home.
‘We only found out last night after paying respects to my brother. It’s a very difficult time. It’s not that it will effect my job.
‘I’m a company director of a construction firm and I have staff who can still work but really it’s all about my brother now.’
Wife April, 33, a self employed cleaner, told how the family had frantically tried to get new flights to fly home last night before the Government’s new rule kicked in.
She said: ‘We were looking at new flights but there was nothing suitable and they had all gone up in price from £40 to £300 which is ridiculous.
‘We had been due to fly home this morning so we did along with 100 other passengers on our flight.
‘None of us have any Covid symptoms but we’ve all got our home testing kits and we’ll now have to stay in quarantine which means I won’t be able to work and will lose money.’
Dominic Raab refused to apologise for reimposing quarantine on travel to Spain today despite the fury of British holidaymakers who have already headed to the Costas.
The Foreign Secretary defended the decision by the Department for Transport to remove the country from a list of safe destinations in the wake of a spike in coronavirus cases.
The decision has left holidaymakers already in Spain or those preparing to fly out ‘panicking’ about a fortnight-long home quarantine when they return to the UK – which could leave some unable to work.
One holidaymaker described the decision as ‘ridiculous’, while another, an NHS project worker, claims his work will be delayed as a result of him having to self-isolate.
And commerce chiefs say the ‘abrupt’ changes will also cause disruption for owners of companies, who will face losing staff for a fortnight with very little warning.
Travel industry chiefs say they understand the government’s decision, with Spain seeing a recent spike in coronavirus cases, but called for a re-think over quarantines for travellers from the Canary and Balaeric islands – where case numbers are much lower than the mainland.
Meanwhile Spain’s Foreign Minister Arancha Gonzalez Laya has today hit back and declared Spain ‘safe for tourists’ and refused to comment on whether the country will retaliate with similar measures on incoming British holidaymakers.
Today Mr Raab said the decision to remove the quarantine-free travel with Spain had been taken yesterday based on data received and analysed on Friday.
Labour blasted the decision, which came into effect at midnight, as ‘shambolic’ after it emerged that even Transport Secretary Grant Shapps and business minister Paul Scully had been caught out by the speed of the move while on Spanish holidays.
But Mr Raab told Sky’s Ridge on Sunday: ‘The cases in Spain, the data came we got was on the Friday, showed a big jump right across mainland Spain, that was then assessed yesterday afternoon and we took the decision as swiftly as we could.
‘And we can’t make apologies for doing so. We must be able to take swift, decisive action, particularly in relation to localised, or internationally in relation to Spain or a particular country, where we see we must take action.
‘Otherwise, we risk re-infection into the UK, potentially a second wave here and then another lockdown.
‘So yes, I understand it is disruptive for those going through this who are in Spain or have been considering going but we must though be able to take swift, decisive action to protect the UK because we’ve made such progress in getting the virus down and prevent the virus re-taking hold in the UK.’
And he warned other nations could also have quarantine reimposed, adding: ‘There is an element of uncertainty this summer.’
Labour’s shadow health secretary Jon Ashworth criticised the speed of the decision and the way it had been broken by a journalist on Twitter.
He told Ridge: ‘I understand why they have made the decision. But the way the decision has been made in the last 24 hours is frankly shambolic.
‘There are holidaymakers in Spain at the moment confused and distressed, there are people about to go on holiday to Spain and the islands like Tenerife who are confused. They don’t know if their employers will allow them to take two weeks’ quarantine.
‘The Government just saying that ‘we hope employers co-operate’, well I hope I will win the lottery on Saturday, it doesn’t mean it will happen.’