Dubai expats left daughter, 2, with nanny to go on holiday seven weeks ago and got stranded by lockdown – The Sun

A COUPLE have been separated from their toddler for seven weeks after being stranded when South Africa went into coronavirus lockdown.

Expat lawyer Mark Hill, 52, and his 44-year-old Italian wife Chiara Maioni left two-year-old Skye in the care of their nanny in Dubai while they went to Cape Town.

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They left on March 11 had planned to have a romantic nine-day break but the day after the World Health Organisation declared a global pandemic.

South Africa brought in a global travel ban in a bid to fight the spread of Covid-19, followed by the UAE.

They've finally made it back but face a further nine days apart from Skye while they remain in quarantine in Dubai.

Mr Hill, 52, who is originally from Newcastle-upon-Tyne, told the MailOnline the situation was “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.”

He said the coupe never been separated from the kids for more than two days and his wife has never been away from Skye.

Chiara said: “This is the first time we have left home without Skye and I feel terribly guilty about this."

The couple explained they stayed in touch with Skye through video calls three times a day with the final one reading her a story and singing to her before bedtime.

“But when your two-year-old daughter reaches up to the screen because she wants to touch you, it's heart-breaking,” said Mr Hill.

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 then 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.


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