A Brazilian couple have described hugging their four children after leaving quarantine as ‘the best feeling in the world’.
Wagner Araujo, 43, and his wife Elaine, 40, were among the first group of travellers to go into a quarantine hotel after they arrived from Brazil last Monday.
They were so determined to get home after their self-imposed exile that they left the Radisson Blu hotel where they had to stay for ten days soon after midnight Friday, as soon as they legally could.
Mr Araujo told MailOnline: ‘By the time we got home the kids were fast asleep, but they burst into our bedroom first thing in the morning and I just gave them all a massive hug.
‘It really was the best feeling in the world, it was wonderful to see them all again because we missed them so much.’
Elaine added: ‘I wanted to wake them up as soon as I got home but had to wait until the morning. It was fantastic to kiss and hug the children. I feel like the luckiest mother in the world. I just want to hug them for the whole day.’
The couple’s four children are Maria Eduarda, 17; Samuel, 10; Oliver 9 and Julie 6. They had made a special poster for their parents which they put on the living room wall declaring ‘Welcome Home’ and also decorated the family home in Finchley, North London with balloons.
Mr Arajuo said that the family planned to stay celebrate their return with a traditional Brazilian meal of beans and meat.
He added: ‘After my kids, I’ve really missed eating home cooked Brazilian food the most. We’re going to spend the whole weekend together just relaxing, chatting and spending quality time together. The kids have been very well behaved while we’ve been away and I’m also happy about that.’
Wagner Araujo, 43, and his wife Elaine, 40, were among the first group of travellers to go into a quarantine hotel after they arrived from Brazil last Monday. Pictured left to right: Elaine, Julie, 6, Maria Eduarda, 17, Samuel, 10, Wagner and Oliver, 9
The couple were so determined to get home after their self-imposed exile that they left the Radisson Blu hotel where they had to stay for ten days soon after midnight Friday, as soon as they legally could
Wayne Kelly spoke of his joy at eventually being able to reunite with his wife, Nikki, (pictured today) before going back home to Birmingham
A guest leaves the Holiday Inn hotel near Heathrow Airport today after completing the 10 days of quarantine as required under the new Covid restrictions
Meanwhile, British businessman Wayne Kelly, 37, spoke of his joy at eventually being able to reunite with his wife, Nikki, before going back home to Birmingham, although he said he ‘didn’t know if I have enough money left to celebrate with’.
He was part of the initial batch of travellers taken straight from Heathrow Airport and into hotels when the new laws began, and was also fined £500 on top of the £1,750 for his accommodation for 10 days.
Mr Kelly told Mail Online: ‘I am out! I am out. It is sound. It is so brilliant. I can’t wait to get back to Birmingham and see my children. There were times when I thought this day might not come.
‘I’ve been in a few dark moods in there. But mostly it was okay and I made some friends for life as well. But it’s so good to have the sunshine on your head. The sky is blue and I know it sounds like a cliche, but spring is definitely in the air.’
What are the rules for entering Britain?
- You cannot enter the UK if you’ve been in or through a country on the banned travel list (known as the ‘red list’) in the last 10 days, unless you’re British, Irish or you have the right to live in the UK
- You must either quarantine where you’re staying or in a managed quarantine hotel for 10 days
- What you need to do depends on where you travel in the 10 days before you arrive – if you travel in or through a country on the banned travel list within 10 days, you must stay managed quarantine hotel; if not, you can quarantine at home
- You need to provide your journey and contact details in the 48 hours before you arrive in the UK. You must do this by completing the online passenger locator form
- You’ll need to show proof that you’ve completed the form when you arrive at the UK border as well as proof of a negative PCR or antigen test taken three days before departure
- You could be fined £500 when you arrive at the border if you cannot provide proof that you have had a negative coronavirus test
- You do not need a test if you’re travelling within the UK, the Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey; from Ireland; from Ascension, Falkland Islands or St Helena; and children under 11 do not need a test
- After arriving at a quarantine hotel you will be tested on days two and eight of your stay using a PCR test self-administered in your room
- In Scotland, arrivals from all international destinations have to quarantine, even if they are not on the red list.
Mr Kelly, who deals in real estate, flew into Heathrow from Dubai on February 15 and was nabbed by airport officials and ordered into quarantine. He was also fined for not filling in his passenger locator form correctly.
The UAE is on the red list of high-risk countries from which returning passengers have to quarantine in a hotel for ten days.
Mr Kelly laughed as he added: ‘I don’t know if I’ve got any money left to celebrate, but it is a good feeling to be out. That room was like a prison at times. I felt like I was in jail. All I could see from the window was a McDonald’s.
‘But I kept myself busy watching some films, and made the occasional trip downstairs to the car park to have a cigarette. There were some nice people in there and I think they’re going to be friends for life.’
Mr Kelly was among around twenty people were released from the Radisson Blue hotel early this morning, with others leaving a Holiday Inn.
Eritza East, 37, from Southampton, who was with her three children at the Radisson, was looking forward to seeing her husband after being apart for seven months.
She said: ‘It was not ideal, but it wasn’t terrible, I’ve been in much worse accommodation. The accommodation was really big and the beds were really comfy, the only problem was the food wasn’t always kid-friendly.
‘Other than that, the security was really nice and very supportive. I’m looking forward to seeing my husband, I haven’t seen him in seven months.’
Ruth Conway, 84 and her husband Norman, 72, from Keynsham, near Bristol, stayed in the Radisson after returning from a holiday in Portugal.
Leaving the hotel on Friday morning, Ms Conway said although the staff were ‘very good’, she questioned if they were ‘joking’ when asked if she had a positive experience.
She added: ‘You could come outside as much as you wanted, my husband’s a smoker, so it’s desperate for him.
‘But it would have been nice to walk around a garden or something.
‘That’s what I can’t wait for, to walk around my garden at home and to be able to get out of one room without having to be escorted everywhere.’
People wait to board the coach after finishing quarantine this morning – they are some of the first travellers to have completed the scheme
Guests leave the Radisson Blu Edwardian hotel, one of around 12 venues taking part in the scheme in England. Scotland is insisting visitors from all international destinations have to quarantine
Two guests wheel their suitcases out of the Radisson Blu hotel this morning after being eventually allowed to travel back home after the period of self-isolation
A Radisson staff member helps a guest move her luggage to a waiting car after finishing the gruelling quarantine period
Removal man Wagner Araujo, 43, and his 40-year-old wife Elaine, from Finchley, London, were freed from confinement at midnight.
They left the Radisson Blu hotel at London Heathrow Airport smiling and said after they had tucked into their McDonald’s chicken burgers and fries they would be heading straight home to hug their children.
Speaking exclusively to MailOnline, mother-of-four Mrs Araujo said she was going to shower her sleeping children with ‘kisses and give them big cuddles’, while her husband added: ‘It has been tough at times, and a bit crazy.’
Mr Araujo said: ‘It has been an expensive time. But it has been an experience. I’m just so happy that we are out at last. To look up at the sky and feel the fresh air and of course to have a McDonald’s outside the hotel.’
His wife said of their children: ‘I have missed them so much I can’t tell you. It has been the hardest thing. But it will be a nice surprise for them because they’re not expecting us now.’
Around 1,200 people are currently in a number of Government-approved quarantine hotels to prevent mutant variants of coronavirus from high-risk countries including Portugal from spreading around the UK.
MPs were told this week that more than 100 people a day are going into the hotels at London Heathrow Airport, where they must stay for 10 days at a cost of £1,750 for the accommodation on risk of criminal prosecution.
Arrivals who lie about where they have been could be jailed for a maximum of 10 years, and if they leave before the end of quarantine they could be fined a maximum of £10,000.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock’s extreme border crackdown sparked criticism from a chorus of lockdown opponents including senior Tory MP Sir Charles Walker and former Supreme Court judge Lord Sumption.
However, the Government has not yet released data on how many people have tested positive for coronavirus since going into a quarantine hotel, with ministers expected to publish an update in the coming weeks.
The first couple released from hotel quarantine at midnight after 10 days of detention punched the air and celebrated by going straight to a McDonald’s
Around 1,200 people are currently in the quarantine hotels, a regime cooked up and imposed by the Government to suppress mutant variants of Covid from high-risk countries
A couple look out of the window of their room at the Radisson Blue hotel in Heathrow
Arrivals who lie about where they have been could be jailed for a maximum of 10 years, and if they leave before the end of quarantine they could be fined £10,000
Brazilian couple Wagner Araujo and his wife Elaine pose for the press as they leave the Radisson Blu hotel after completing their quarantine period at Heathrow Airport
The first passengers, who arrived at Heathrow last week, are now allowed to return home
Several other people were released at midnight along with the couple, with security guards ordering them to leave from the back exit to avoid awaiting press bag at the front of the hotel
Travellers leave the Radisson Blu hotel after completing their quarantine period at Heathrow Airport on February 26, 2021
Arrivals who lie about where they have been could be jailed for a maximum of 10 years, and if they leave before the end of quarantine they could be fined £10,000
Speaking to MailOnline, Mr Araujo explained how he and his wife watched movies and played the PlayStation.
‘But you don’t realise how lucky you are to be free until you are being told you can’t go anywhere,’ he added.
33 ‘high-risk’ nations from which arriving travellers will have to quarantine in hotels
Democratic Republic of the Congo
Portugal (including Madeira and the Azores)
United Arab Emirates (UAE)
The couple were met by his twin brother Wander who drove them home. He said: ‘My brother and I run the speed recovery and removal company in North London and it’ll be great to have him back at work.
‘I know his children have really missed him and his wife and I know that they’re really miss them. That is going to be the nicest thing that they’re going to be reunited with their children.’
Mr Araujo who has lived in London for 20 years, arrived with his wife Heathrow Airport from Brazil via Madrid on February 15 after visiting a sick relative.
The couple had travelled to Brazil on January 11 and set off for their journey back to the UK from Sao Paulo before having a two-hour stop-over in Madrid.
As they landed at Heathrow, they were told they had travelled from a red zone country and would be quarantined and face a bill of £1,750 each.
Several other people were released at midnight along with the couple, with security guards ordering them to leave from the back exit to avoid awaiting press bag at the front of the hotel.
The Government has defended the scheme, insisting it is required to provide higher protection against the threat of Covid-19 variants by enabling health officials to better track any new cases which might be brought into Britain.
But some hotel guests have complained that the Government has breached their human rights and protested with a series of homemade signs ‘HM Prison Heathrow’ and ‘What a way to spend your birthday’.
One woman quarantining at the Radisson Blu Edwardian hotel near Heathrow said she was forced to stay there when she could self-isolate at home – and despite testing negative for Covid-19.
She held up a handwritten message on a piece of paper behind the window of her room yesterday which read: ‘Government controlled hotel quarantine plan is in contravention of my human rights when I have a home to go to for self-isolation and have tested negative for Covid.’
Other guests staying at the four-star hotel were also pictured giving a thumbs down as they leaned out of their window, with one of them wearing a football shirt of Argentinian team Boca Juniors.
The father of a 16-year-old boy with autism who is quarantining in a hotel after returning from Brazil has said the experience has left his son depressed, physically unwell and unable to eat properly.
A quarantined traveller holds a sign up to the window of her room at the Radisson Blu Edwardian hotel near Heathrow yesterday
Wayne Kelly, of Birmingham, was part of the initial batch of travellers taken straight from London Heathrow Airport and into hotels when the new laws began, and was also fined £500 on top of the £1,750 for his accommodation for 10 days. Right, a man wearing a Boca Juniors football shirt gives a thumbs- down at the Radisson Blu Edwardian near Heathrow yesterday
A passenger entering quarantine is helped in to the Holiday Inn hotel, near Heathrow Airport, London, a Government-designated quarantine hotel being used for travellers to stay during a 10-day quarantine after returning to England from one of 33 ‘red list’ countries
A man exercises under supervision of security in the car park of Renaissance London Heathrow Hotel at Heathrow Airport
The Radisson Blu Edwardian near London Heathrow Airport, pictured, is among the hotels in the quarantine scheme
After the Health Secretary issued blood-curdling threats of 10 years in jail for travellers who lie about visiting mutant Covid-19 hotspots earlier this month, he was accused of ‘demeaning his office’.
Mr Hancock trumpeted the measure saying he made ‘no apology’ for how severe it was as he unveiled the extreme borders crackdown.
However, senior Tory MPs accused the Health Secretary of ‘stupidity’ over the sabre-rattling, pointing out that the country does not have ‘enough prison capacity to start locking up 19-year-old silly kids’.
Sir Jonathan Jones, the Government’s former top lawyer, said he would ‘eat a face mask’ if anyone was ever sentences to 10 years for lying on a form.
Former Supreme Court justice Lord Sumption branded the mooted maximum prison term ‘inhumane’ – pointing out it is longer than for some sex offences. And ex-Attorney General Dominic Grieve said courts would never impose the ‘draconian’ 10-year sentence.
Despite complaints of rights abuses, the majority of the British public told a YouGov poll they supported the hotel quarantine regime.
Nelio Salles De Siqueira, a chef from Peckham in south London, said his autistic 16-year-old son Caique Pires Salles will barely leave his bed after being forced to stay at the Holiday Inn near Heathrow Airport following their return to the UK from Brazil
The survey from last week found 90 per cent approval of the scheme, while 72 per cent thought the rules should apply to all arrivals, not just those from the 33 countries on the UK’s ‘red list’.
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said last week: ‘We recognise the impacts restrictions have on many and are grateful for the public’s continued efforts in helping to tackle this global pandemic by following the rules to protect others and save lives.
‘The new managed quarantine scheme and enhanced testing regime are necessary to provide a further level of protection against the threat of Covid-19 variants, by enabling us to better track any new cases which might be brought into the country.
‘All hotels are providing daily health and welfare support, and staff will seek medical support if they have health concerns about individual guests.’
Father autistic boy, 16, warns hotel quarantine is damaging his son’s health
Nelio Salles De Siqueira and his son Caique Pires Salles, 16
The father of a teenager with autism who is quarantining in a hotel at Heathrow has said the experience has 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 will 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’.
‘It’s quite frustrating that he had to go through it,’ Mr Salles De Siqueira said.
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.
Before coming home, the family tried to find out if it would be possible to get an exemption from the hotel stay because of the effect it would have on Caique’s wellbeing, but were unable to find anybody who could help.
Mr Salles De Siqueira said: ‘We got notes from his psychiatrist, from his school saying it’s psychologically unhealthy, because his mental health is not great. But even like that, nobody would listen.’