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Four British teenage girls who have been trapped in an Italian hotel since last month have said they feel "let down by the UK government".
Rachel Goldsmith, Lily Griffin, LilyRose Wallace, all 18, and Millie Acers, 19, were enjoying a post-A-Level holiday in Sicily before they tested positive for coronavirus in September.
Since then, the girls have been kept in solitary confinement in an Italian hotel, which has been turned into a Covid detention centre.
All four friends were kept separated from each other as they were in quarantine in the centre surrounded by armed police and the army, reports Mail Online.
The teenagers must test negative for the virus twice before they are allowed home, according to Italian law.
One of the four, Millie was permitted to leave on Sunday after testing negative twice.
However, the rest of the group have tested positive for the third time, meaning they could be trapped for a further few weeks.
Describing her experiences, Rachel said: "It's been really challenging mentally, being completely alone.
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"The only contact that we have are with people wearing hazmat suits and they can't really speak English, so I feel isolated. It's just lonely being here."
LilyRose said: "I feel frightened. We're all struggling now because it's been a long time. The conditions aren't great but what's really bad is the communication – not knowing when we're going to leave, what's going on, and when our tests are going to be.
"The thought of not knowing when I'm coming home is the most difficult, especially at this point knowing that there's no point us being here. We know we're no longer contagious, it's been a very long time since we had the virus.
"It's really scary. We're young but there are lots of adults here and you can hear them crying at night and shouting and you think if adults aren't coping well, what'll happen to us if we're here for a long time?"
The friends from south London arrived in Palermo on September 8 for a week.
However, two of the girls began to have mild symptoms of the bug and all four began to self isolate.
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On September 15, when the group was due to fly back to the UK, they all tested positive and were taken to San Paolo Palace Hotel.
They have been trapped since and are pleading for the UK government to help them.
Lily, who was due to start studying medicine at Imperial College London, said: "We feel let down by the British government because we did everything we could to protect Italians – we got tested, we didn't get on that plane home, we wore masks everywhere and now the government and the consulate are doing nothing to get us out of this situation."
She also described the living conditions as being "disgusting" and the carpet covered in dust and hair.
Rachel's mum Margaret Goldsmith, 49, said: "They're completely isolated and the rooms are stripped down to basics so they have no laundry facility."
- A Levels
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