A Lanarkshire charity worker who has spent the last ten years working to help the poorest people in the world has hit out at the government’s decision to place Malawi on the red list.
Kevin Simpson, from Wishaw, started the charity Malawi Fruits 10 years ago, and has made countless trips to the African country helping its inhabitants.
After visiting the country for the first time in nearly two years, the 57-year-old was hit with the news that Malawi would be moving from the green list to the red list while he was over there.
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Kevin has now had to fork out £2285 to stay in the Holiday Inn Express in Edinburgh, where he has had to quarantine.
This has led him to slam the government’s last-minute decision and he is asking why this choice was made despite a lack of evidence to back it up.
Kevin told Lanarkshire Live: “It was only a few days before I was due to fly home that we started hearing the news that Malawi was going to be added to the red-list.
“There was no real justification for the move from the green list and I can’t see any scientific evidence to suggest why.
“And despite testing negative for Covid and the new Omicron variant three times, I have still had to quarantine on my own in the hotel and pay for it.
“It has cost me over £2000 out of the charity’s money; money which will no longer be able to go towards helping people in Malawi.
“It feels like such an unnecessary quarantine, I feel like a prisoner. The staff are trying their best here but the price I have paid does not justify the service.
“I have a guard outside my door, I get accompanied at all times to exercise in the yard and I can’t have visitors.
“Holiday Inn Express rooms are £60 per night so for 10 nights, that is £600. Even allowing for food costs, it wouldn’t exceed £900. Who is profiting from this?”
Kevin’s visit to Malawi saw him working with farmers and helping provide them with irrigation pumps which allows them them to increase their yield.
He also spent time providing greenhouses to households to help Malawian women achieve financial empowerment and boost the country’s economy.
A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “Recently introduced international travel restrictions were swiftly brought in on a four-nation basis to protect public health while scientific analysis of the omicron variant continues.
“Decisions on international travel restrictions were informed by risk assessment from the UK Health Security Agency.”
Other African countries on the red list are Angola, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
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