A Dubai couple have been left stranded for more than seven weeks without their toddler while holidaying when South Africa went into strict lockdown due to the coronavirus.
British lawyer Mark Hill, 52, and his Italian wife Chiara Maioni, 44, who live in Dubai, left their two-year-old daughter Skye in the care of their beloved nanny and extended family while they travelled to Cape Town for what was meant to be a nine-day holiday.
The pair left for their getaway on March 11, just a day after WHO declared a global pandemic.
Days later, South Africa issued a strict travel ban in a bid to stop the spread of COVID-19, which was closely replicated by the United Arab Emirates days later.
The pair eventually made it back to their home country, but have been forced to suffer a further nine days apart from their little girl while they remain under strict quarantine in Dubai.
Mr Hill told the MailOnline that the situation is “horrendous, a complete nightmare” and “very stressful”.
“The world changed overnight and we found ourselves in the complete unknown,” he said.
“We didn’t have a clue how long the lockdown would last and how to get home.
“We were stranded in a foreign country that we did not know. We watched as airports around the world closed and airlines stopped flying.”
Mr Hill went on to say he and his wife have never been apart from their children for more than a few days.
“This is the first time we have left home without Skye and I feel terribly guilty about this,” Ms Maioni said.
The couple went on to explain they were staying in close contact with Skye through video calls three times a day.
“But when your two-year-old daughter reaches up to the screen because she wants to touch you, it’s heartbreaking,” Mr Hill said.
His wife added: “Our children are very special for us. It was really difficult to be separated from them. This is a miracle for us to be home.”
Mr Hill and Ms Maioni, were able to board a government repatriation flight to Dubai, arriving in the early hours of April 23, after two days of travelling via Frankfurt.
“When we finally get to see Skye there will be lots of group hugs with the kids and my wife,” he said.
This article originally appeared on Over60.