WHEN Margaret Le Lievre returned to Scotland in March to look after her elderly mum, the last thing she expected was to still be here half a year later. 

But, the Covid-19 pandemic struck, the country was placed into lockdown, and the New Zealander found herself stuck in Airdrie. 

Now, the 60-year-old has launched a plea for help in her bid to return to her adopted home. 

Mrs Le Lievre, who grew up in neighbouring Coatbridge, had hoped to fly later this month with Emirates, only to be told she needed to produce a negative Covid-19 test before her flight. 

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However, she says she has struggled to get her hands on one and, even if she can, worries she may not be able to get her results back in time. 

She said: “I am running out of funds and, while I have been very, very lucky with my work, if I don’t get back soon I will lose my job.

“I feel like I am being kept against my will. I have done nothing wrong. I am staying with my elderly mother and it’s hardly like I am going out clubbing.”

Mrs Le Lievre added: “This is the third flight I have booked to try to get home. I came home to give my mother some care. She has dementia and is 83.

“I am having to shield with her but have been told I must get a test before flying. 

“We have phoned everyone we can think of and it seems it is only the NHS who are testing and they are refusing point blank to help me.”

Mrs Le Lievre’s journey to Christchurch is via Dubai, however Emirates’ official policy is that “all passengers travelling to Dubai must have a negative Covid-19 PCR test certificate to be accepted on the flight”. 

Glasgow Times: Mrs Le Lievre says the Scottish Government should be taking a leaf out of new Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's bookMrs Le Lievre says the Scottish Government should be taking a leaf out of new Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's book

“It’s absurd and I don’t know why Emirates have done this,” she said. “They are going to have empty planes and I don’t know who is going to get tests.” 

Mrs Le Lievre, who moved to New Zealand with husband Paul, added: “I was told by the Scottish Government they couldn’t help me and my doctor said the same. My mother’s carers should be tested every two weeks and it’s not getting done. 

“What we are hearing on these sound bites is completely inaccurate from the reality.

“We’re already looking at having to pay another £1000 for another flight after paying so much money already. People really need to know about this.” 

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A Scottish Government spokesman said: “Testing is provided free in Scotland to people with symptoms, and in very limited circumstances to people who do not have symptoms where there is a public health need, such as staff working in care homes.

“Where evidence of a negative test result is required, we would expect a traveller to arrange that privately and pay for it, just as they have paid for their flight, and indeed just as they would pay for any mandatory vaccinations sometimes required for travel.”

Emirates did not respond to a request for comment. 

Can you help Margaret? Get in touch at jack.haugh@newsquest.co.uk