British friends stuck in quarantine in Italy for 61 DAYS can leave

British friends stuck in quarantine in Italy for 61 DAYS can leave


Three British friends who were stuck in quarantine in Italy for 61 DAYS despite having no symptoms for weeks are finally allowed to leave Florence

  • Rhys James, Quinn Paczesny and Will Castle tested positive for Covid in August
  • They were stuck in isolation after repeatedly failing to provide two negative tests
  • Today they said a law change had allowed them to return home – just before quarantine rules kick in requiring two weeks’ isolation on return from Italy  

Three British friends have finally been allowed out of quarantine in Italy 61 days after they first tested positive for coronavirus. 

Rhys James, 23, Quinn Paczesny, 20, and Will Castle, 22, had been in a specialist isolation facility in Florence since August 17 after repeatedly testing positive, failing to fulfil Italy’s requirement of two negative tests to get out of quarantine.

But speaking on Good Morning Britain today, they revealed they had finally been set free after a law change in Italy which meant their weeks of isolation without symptoms were enough to get out. 

The trio can come home just before Italy is added to Britain’s quarantine list on Sunday, meaning they will avoid adding insult to injury with another 14-day spell in isolation. 

Quinn Paczesny (left) and Rhys James (right) celebrated today after they were finally given the green light to leave quarantine in Florence after 61 days 

‘We’re free… we’re coming home,’ said Quinn and Rhys on their TV appearance this morning, drawing cheers from GMB presenters. 

Rhys explained: ‘The emergency law in Italy which stated you needed two negative results to leave stopped yesterday.

‘So essentially the law in the whole of Italy changed yesterday, and Tuscany, the region we’re in, signed the agreement and basically said you just need one negative and 21 days of isolation, and we’ve done what, 61 days.’ 

Voicing his relief at avoiding a further quarantine in Britain, Quinn stuck: ‘That would have been terrible if we’d had to isolate on the return home for two weeks as well after just doing 61 days in isolation.’ 

He added: ‘I don’t even have the words to explain how it feels just to know that we can go home, do normal things, see our family, see our friends and have a normal life again rather than being stuck here.’ 

The trio (pictured during an earlier test when they were allowed to be in the same room) were planning to travel Europe together, but got stuck in isolation

The boys were being kept inside a hotel in Florence that has been converted for use as a coronaivurs ward, and were in separate rooms meaning they had no social contact

The trio had been teaching English in northern Italy before going travelling together, but tested positive in Florence on August 17. 

All of their symptoms had cleared up within two days of the test result, but the three men were put in a converted hotel, kept in separate rooms with food brought to their doors in plastic tubs.  

Despite feeling well and being told that they were unlikely to be infectious, they kept testing positive and could not meet the requirement of two negative results. 

The process left them ‘totally confused’ given WHO guidelines saying they should have been discharged within two weeks.  

They said medics had told them that tests were probably detecting dead coronavirus cells that are left in their systems.  

Mark Paczesny, Quinn’s father, previously said he was concerned for the boys’ mental health, saying that ‘the cracks are starting to show’. 

Mark Paczesny (right), Quinn’s father, previously said he was concerned for the boys’ mental health, saying that ‘the cracks are starting to show’

Rhys, of Pembrokeshire, Wales, said the group were ‘totally confused’ about why they could not return home or why consular officials could not get them home.   

‘Doctors told us the machine had broken,’ he said. They said it had been overwhelmed over the week and had lots of problems. It doesn’t give us much hope to be honest, we’re wondering if it’s even valid. 

The Foreign Office said it was in contact with the Italian medical officials.  

The trio also investigated the possibility of getting private tests which might show a different result, before the rule change finally bailed them out.   

Italy was added to the UK’s quarantine list on Thursday after its infection rate surged to 71.5 cases per 100,000 in a week, way above the key threshold of 20. 

On Thursday, Italy recorded a new 24-hour high of 8,804 infections, although the true figures were likely higher during the first wave when testing was limited. 

There were also another 83 deaths, the highest figure for four months, bringing Italy’s death toll in the pandemic to 36,372.   

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