Frustration grows as Sussex man remains in Italian quarantine 'nightmare' for seventh week

Tap above for the latest on the Italian quarantine 'nightmare' experienced by a man from Sussex


The parents of a young man from Sussex being kept in Italian quarantine have criticised the British Government for not doing more to bring him home.

Will Castle from Ardingly near Haywards Heath and his friends Rhys James and Quinn Paczesny are being detained now for seven weeks because of repeated positive coronavirus tests, despite being told by doctors that dead cells are most likely being picked up.

They’ve likened the conditions at the facility in Florence to a prison, with inadequate food, and lack of space in which to exercise. 

All three have been stuck in quarantine for seven weeks

The Foreign Office say they've raised concerns about the facility.

Will Castle's mother Nicky and father Jim say they're worried for their son's mental health and want more support and action to get their son home.

Jim told us, "It’s totally frustrating as nobody is taking ownership of the whole thing. He’s been told categorically he’s not allowed out of their room, not even into the corridor, except when they come and clean it every day. It’s difficult because you feel there’s nothing you can do."

It’s like having your hands being tied behind your back being punched, there’s nothing you can do.

Jim Castle, Will's father
Nicky and Jim Castle

Nicky says,

"They’re all separated, they can only talk to each other on zoom or by shouting across the balcony. It’s not really real living. You’re stuck in the room all day every day. You’re not allowed to get fresh exercise.  It’s boring and really taking its toll on their mental health, all of them."

You have to remain strong for him because he’s going through something that is terrible.

Nicky Castle, Will's mother

With his parents in despair, out of desperation to get out of the facility Will has started using steam inhalation to try and kill any dead coronavirus cells.

“So much power and control is taken away from us in this place. Just to feel you’re doing something to get yourself out keeps me sane.

"It just feels like nobody cares that we are here, even on the Italian side, even though surely they should be rushing to get us out. Surely you don't want to be paying for us for such an extended amount of time when you don't need to."

The group have previously complained about portion sizes but the food and drink situation is getting worse.

Rhys was given just two boxes of potatoes for dinner despite being told food will improve,

“I phoned reception, I said I’ve actually got a gluten allergy and they brought up some plain pasta. they just said there’s nothing they can do, sorry.

The temptation is to go downstairs and leave the facility.

Rhys James

"We are trying our best to respect the Italian rules because none of us want to get arrested. We don't want a criminal record we don't want to be banned from Italy but the reality is that can happen as soon as we get out the door. We wanted to leave, we've wanted to leave for seven weeks."

Quinn says they don't have basic products to keep clean,

"The least we should have is anti-bacterial hand-wash. Some spray to clean our own rooms after we've touched surfaces and some decent shampoo which doesn't give you a red flakey scalp and skin.

It’s quite frustrating to still be here

Quinn Paczesny

"It’s quite frustrating to still be here knowing if we were in any other country we would’ve done to 10-14 day isolation period be classed as non-contagious and be allowed to carry on with normal life.”

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office says its overall concern is the safety and security of British nationals and that is has been in direct contact with the group.

In a statement a spokesperson said,"FCDO Consulate staff are supporting three British men in quarantine in Italy and are in regular contact with them. 

"The length of quarantine is based on local measures to control the spread of Covid-19, but we have raised concerns about their food, rooms and medical issues directly with the Italian authorities, and will continue to do all we can to help them while complying with local requirements."