Pilot denied quarantine exemption to search for his missing father-in-law

·2 min read
Travellers at Heathrow Airport - ANDY RAIN/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock
Travellers at Heathrow Airport - ANDY RAIN/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

The son-in-law of a missing 82-year-old man has criticised the Government's decision to keep him in hotel quarantine instead of allowing him to leave to help with the search.

Ryan Harris asked for an exemption to leave quarantine after Bob Cuthbertson disappeared whilst grieving for his wife, Anne.

The pilot, who works in Qatar, was not aware he had to quarantine after flying a plane into the UK on July 17, but was told upon landing that he was required to stay in a hotel.

It was then that he received a call from his wife Victoria, who informed him that her father was not answering any calls.

He immediately applied to the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) for an exemption on compassionate grounds, to help his distraught family look for Mr Cuthbertson.

He contacted them several times but claims that the DHSC only got back to him seven hours before his 10-day quarantine was due to end, to tell him that his request had been turned down.

Mr Harris told the BBC that he "felt absolutely hopeless" in his hotel room, adding: "My wife was distraught, she just needed me there.

“She'd just buried her mother two weeks previously and now she's just lost her father."

The pensioner's car was found next to a disused quarry on Holyhead mountain, in Anglesey, Wales, a few days after he vanished.

A DHSC spokesperson said: “Quarantine measures are minimising the risk of variants coming into the UK and safeguarding the hard-won progress of our vaccination programme.

“All exceptional circumstance requests are carefully considered and we always try to balance the needs of the person applying with our top priority of protecting the public.

“These decisions can be difficult and we regularly review the policy on exceptional circumstances and the handling of individual requests to ensure we learn lessons and improve the service.”

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