Dad’s pain ‘I still haven’t met my son due to Covid restrictions’
ABRISTOL man still has not met his 10-month-old son due to coronavirus travel restrictions. Mike Burrows has to make do with FaceTiming his 10-month-old boy Caleb and girlfriend Rachel from his home in Bristol.
The 54-year-old is desperate to visit them in person in Banna on the northern tip of the Philippines, but a ban on foreign visitors has kept him out for a year and a half.
He was last able to see Rachel, 31, in December 2019, having met her on social media platform HighFive before slowly falling in love over the following years.
A few months later the bakery owner told Mike they were expecting their first child together.
The pandemic has not only kept Mike from seeing Caleb, it has hampered his and Rachel’s romantic plans.
“I haven’t been able to see my son since he was born,” Mike said.
“I have not met him yet. It’s depressing.
“We were thinking of getting married this year.”
Mike is speaking out about his situation and heartache to raise the issue of families separated during the pandemic.
Many Brits have been separated for well over a year due to tight travel restrictions in other countries, with the absence causing huge emotional tolls and straining relationships.
Mike and Rachel have been together for the past six years, having worked their way up from penpals to close friends and then romantic partners over video chat.
He took the plunge and flew out to see her four years ago.
“We grew closer and had a few things in common,” Mike said of the early days of his and Rachel’s relationship. The general plan was for her to be able to move over to the UK.
“We wanted children. It was a planned pregnancy. As soon as I got back from the visit then the virus started spreading.”
His plans to travel to the Philippines last Easter were scuppered by the virus, and now a trip to visit Rachel and Caleb on his first birthday is looking unlikely.
The south-east Asian country has some of the strictest travel restrictions in the world, with a complete ban on non-residents entering.
The Philippines government says that all “measures are temporary” and will be lifted once “Covid-19 is brought under control”.
While the nation’s 25,000 deaths so far are significantly fewer than the UK’s 150,000 –especially given its larger 108 million strong population – it is still recording more than 5,000 cases a day.
Because only two per cent of the population are vaccinated, it will likely be a long time before the virus is considered “under control”.
“There’s been lobbying of the government in the Philippines to allow double jabbed people in,” Mike, a consultant, continued.
“I can’t see any reason why they can’t let me in with a negative test.
“I don’t know if I’ll be able to go there this year, but I video call Caleb everyday.
“He can say ‘dada’ now.”
I don’t know if I’ll be able to go there this year, but I video call Caleb everyday. He can say ‘dada’ now.