Suspended Sky News presenter Kay Burley is forced to self-isolate

At least she’s not missing any work! Suspended Sky News presenter Kay Burley is forced to self-isolate after flying back from South Africa as government issues new quarantine measures to stop spread of mutant Covid strain

  • Burley will have to self-isolate for two weeks following today’s announcement
  • The presenter has spent the last seven days staying at a £1,500 a night lodge 
  • Sky News ordered her off air for flouting Covid rules at her 60th birthday party 

Kay Burley will now have to go into quarantine after returning to the UK from South Africa just days ago. 

Today Matt Hancock announced that a second mutated strain of coronavirus even more infectious than the one already wreaking havoc had originated in the country – and ordered anyone who had returned within the last fortnight to self-isolate. 

The Sky News presenter, who is currently suspended on full pay for breaking Covid rules for her 60th birthday party, arrived back in the UK this weekend, meaning she will have to keep to herself over Christmas. 

Mr Hancock said the discovery was ‘highly concerning’ and revealed ‘immediate restrictions’ were being imposed on travel to and from South Africa. 

Those who have arrived from the country in the last fortnight are being urged to quarantine for two weeks. 

Kay Burley was pictured at Johannesburg Airport on Friday as she flew home from a seven-day trip to a £1,500-a-night safari lodge

It is believed Kay and a female friend were in the most exclusive £1,500-a-night Rock Lodge, where she has stayed on previous occasions (pictured at the safari in April 2019)

Mr Hancock told a press conference this afternoon: ‘Anyone in the UK who has been in South Africa in the past fortnight and anyone who is a close contact of someone who has been in South Africa in the last fortnight, must quarantine immediately.

‘They must restrict all contact with any other person whatsoever.’

He said the measures would be ‘temporary’ while the new strain is investigated at Porton Down laboratories.   

Burley was seen on Friday night at Johannesburg Airport, this time following the rules by carefully filling out documents to comply with anti-coronavirus measures. 

The presenter has spent the last seven days basking at a luxury £1,500 a night lodge on her South African safari, as London slipped into Tier 3 with infection rates rising fast.

She was hauled over the coals for breaking lockdown rules by having a boozy 60th birthday party in a private restaurant — then inviting three colleagues back to her London home. 

Furious channel bosses told her she must stay off screen for six months while fellow revellers political editor Beth Rigby and correspondent Inzamam Rashid agreed to come off air for three months. 

Sources have told MailOnline that the journalist was flown 300 miles by light aircraft from the luxury game lodge where she was staying, at Richard Branson’s Ulusaba resort in Kruger National Park. 

Well-drilled staff mounted a military-style operation to keep their guest away from other patrons during her stay. 

Breezing through check-in, dressed in a white tee-shirt with matching facemask, feisty Kay looked unperturbed as she dealt with formalities before heading to the BA lounge to await her First Class flight home

Sources could not say how Kay celebrated her 60th birthday on Thursday but guests say it was probably low key as they heard no partying from the hillside lodge

Sources have told MailOnline the journalist was flown 300 miles by light aircraft from the luxury game lodge where she was staying, at Richard Branson’s Ulusaba resort in Kruger National Park

It is believed Kay and a female friend were in the most exclusive £1,500-a-night Rock Lodge, where she has stayed on previous occasions. 

The lodge offered her total privacy as the rest of Ulusaba’s guests were accommodated in Safari Lodge located 500 metres below her along a river bed.

Although Rock Lodge has spectacular panoramic views Burley missed out on heart-stopping game viewing from the restaurant deck, where guests witnessed a leopard kill and daily visits from a breeding herd of elephants gathering at the water-hole below the bar. 

Lodge sources say Kay Burley so reluctant to leave her bushveld paradise on Friday, that she kept her private charter waiting on the runway for over an hour. 

Sources could not say how she celebrated her 60th birthday on Thursday but guests say it was probably low key as they heard no partying from the hillside lodge.

Ulusaba means ‘place of little fear’ and the hill, or koppie, was so named by local tribes for the tactical advantage it gave them in battle. 

It overlooks a dam and watering hole, giving guests tremendous opportunities to spy Africa’s ‘big five’ of lion, leopard, rhinoceros, elephant, and Cape buffalo. 

When she set out for her holiday in Karrimor hiking boots, Burley looked prepared to rough it, but nothing could be further from the truth at Ulusaba. 

In 1994 Ulusaba was purchased by Sir Richard Branson and transformed into world-class lodges. 

Lodge sources say Kay was so reluctant to leave her bushveld paradise on Friday, that she kept her private charter waiting on the runway for over an hour

Kay, pictured at Johannesburg Airport earlier today, apologised to her Sky colleagues and branded herself an ‘idiot’ for hosting the party in Soho and inviting people back to her home afterwards

Some of the suites have their own private plunge pools, and most have balconies. Sitting round the swimming pool, guests can see for miles across the plains below, and can order lunch as they bask in the sunshine. 

The high-end room rates include twice-daily game drives with armed wardens, all meals and drinks with a top quality wine list. 

Kay apologised to her Sky colleagues and branded herself an ‘idiot’ for hosting the party in Soho and inviting people back to her home afterwards. 

Following the incident, a leaked email from Kay, reportedly sent to her Sky News colleagues after her party was rumbled, saw her admit she had let her team down over her coronavirus rule break. 

The message seen by Mail Online read: ‘Dear all, I’m an idiot. ‘I’m really very sorry. I know I have let so many of you down. 

‘There’s really nothing else I can say to excuse my actions.’ 

Burley had her own Land Rover Defender driven by a dedicated guide who kept her well away from other guests while on the safari. She visited the site in April last year (pictured)

Political editor Beth Rigby and Kay took to Twitter shortly after her suspension was announced, and wrote a lengthy apology, insisting her actions were accidental. 

She wrote: ‘I have agreed with Sky News to step back from my broadcasting role for a period of reflection. 

‘It’s clear to me that we are all in the fight against Covid-19 and that we all have a duty to stick firmly by the rules. 

‘It doesn’t matter that I thought I was Covid-compliant on a recent social event. The fact is I was wrong, I made a big mistake, and I am sorry.’ 

‘Some dear friends and colleagues – some of the most talented and committed professionals in our business – have been pulled into this episode and I regret this enormously. 

‘I was one of the founding presenters on Sky News. No one is prouder of our channel’s reputation, the professionals on our team, and the impact we make. 

‘I very much look forward to being able to continue my 32 year career with Sky when I return.’ 

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