Queensland mum says daughter is suffering after five months trapped in Auckland because of COVID border closures

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A three-year-old girl is “emotionally wrecked” having been separated from her Queensland-based mother for five months due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Aria Williams flew to New Zealand to visit her mum Aliyah Williams’ family in June.

The plan was for her to stay with her grandmother and other extended family members for two weeks.

But Auckland went into lockdown the day after she arrived, bursting the Trans-Tasman travel bubble.

“She was extremely comfortable – she still is comfortable – but she’s now getting extremely distressed,” Aliyah Williams told 7NEWS.

“She’s quite upset everyday.

Aliyah Williams and daughter Aria. Credit: Supplied

“For the last month or so, she has asked whether or not she can come home or if the planes are working, or if Cindy (NZ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern) can turn on the planes.

“She’s a bit confused as to why she’s not here with us, doing things that she would like to.

“Everyday she says she misses us and loves us.”

Queensland resident Aliyah Williams has not seen her daughter Aria in five months.
Queensland resident Aliyah Williams has not seen her daughter Aria in five months. Credit: 7NEWS

Williams says it’ll cost her about $5000 for flights to New Zealand and a hotel quarantine room. But it’s money she doesn’t have.

Being away from her mother is “taking its toll” on Aria, Williams said, and her daughter has become increasingly “depressed, anxious and emotionally wrecked” as the Auckland lockdown continues.

But an exemption from hotel quarantine has not been forthcoming from authorities in New Zealand or Australia, Williams said.

“She’s a very outgoing child. But sometimes when I call her now, she doesn’t really talk on the phone like she used to when she first went over,” she said.

‘No one’s listening’

“She’d run around and dance around and now she just sits there and watches the TV. She doesn’t really know what to say now.

“She’s a three-year-old who needs her mother and father.

“It’s been really hard to try and get someone to understand.

“No matter how much I’ve cried to them or raised my voice a little, just to let them know it’s extremely stressful, no one’s listening to us.”

Aliyah Williams says her daughter Aria is becoming increasingly distressed by the separation from her parents.
Aliyah Williams says her daughter Aria is becoming increasingly distressed by the separation from her parents. Credit: 7NEWS

Travel between Queensland and New Zealand appears a long way off, with Kiwi health officials reporting another 173 community cases of COVID-19, including 154 in Auckland, on Friday.

There are 78 New Zealanders with COVID-19 in hospital, including seven in intensive care.

On Wednesday, the Ardern government released its border reopening plan, which will allow New Zealanders in Australia to sidestep quarantine from January 17.

Kiwis in other countries will follow suit in February, with foreigners allowed in from April 30.

– With AAP

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