Covid in Scotland: ‘Heartless’ quarantine decision to be re-examinedon July 17, 2021 at 5:01 pm

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Laura Soutar is stuck in hotel isolation in Majorca while her father Iain, from Milngavie, has just days to live.

father and daughters

image copyrightSoutar family

Scotland’s health secretary has ordered a review of the case of an expat woman pleading to be reunited with her terminally-ill father.

Laura Souter, who works in Dubai, is quarantining in Majorca after the Scottish government refused to exempt her from self-isolation rules.

Iain Soutar is receiving palliative care after being diagnosed with terminal cancer.

The family fear Laura’s return could be too late to give her dad “a final hug”.

Health Secretary Humza Yousaf told BBC Scotland he had asked his team to look again at the case with the “urgency this requires”.

Laura Soutar

If Laura, who is fully vaccinated, returns to Scotland immediately she would have to restart her 10-day isolation period in a hotel, and would only be allowed to make a visit to her father before returning to self-isolation.

But if she completes her 10-day isolation in Majorca, she would not arrive in Scotland until Tuesday and says the delay has been unbearable as her father may only have days to live.

Iain’s loved ones were previously told by Scottish government officials their case did not merit an exemption to the rules.

The Scottish Conservatives have branded the decision “heartless” and are demanding an immediate U-turn to allow Laura to fly back to Scotland.

Party leader Douglas Ross said: “This is a heartbreaking case and the government has to be more flexible in situations like this. There are times where it’s right to make an exemption and this is undoubtedly one of those rare instances.

“Refusing to give Laura the chance to hug her father and be with her family throughout this difficult time is heartless. This decision must be changed immediately, before it’s too late.”

In an interview with BBC Scotland, Health Secretary Humza Yousaf said: “My heart goes out to the Soutar family. Having seen the case highlighted, I have asked the team who look at the decisions on exemptions to look at the case again and review it.

“Government ministers don’t make those decisions and don’t tend to intervene in exemption decisions because we get so many of them.

“I am asking the team with the urgency this requires to look again at this case.”

Laura’s sister Rebecca McCarron, who is at home with her father in Milngavie, East Dunbartonshire, welcomed the development but warned a speedy decision was vital.

She told the BBC: “We are grateful to Mr Yousaf for looking in to our case further but we don’t have time to waste. We need a decision as soon as possible.

“These days are crucial for us and anything that can help Laura get home, even a day earlier, would mean the world to my family.

“We feel compassion needs to be shown given Laura is fully vaccinated.”

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