13th July 2020

Environment Coronavirus: Sevenoaks family faces birth registration delay

Environment Coronavirus: Sevenoaks family faces birth registration delay


environment Catherine & Vincent Wong with baby Oliver & XavierImage copyright
Catherine Wong

Image caption

Catherine and Vincent Wong with baby Oliver and brother Xavier

A family of a baby boy who want to take him to meet his elderly grandparents in Canada cannot travel because birth registrations remain suspended in England because of Covid-19.

Catherine Wong needs to register the birth of Oliver, who was born on 14 March, so he can get a passport.

“There will be an unmanageable backlog of registrations,” she said.

Her authority, Kent County Council (KCC), hopes to restart registrations “in less than two weeks time”.

Registering a birth has been suspended since the coronavirus lockdown restrictions were announced on 23 March.

Environment ‘We were understanding’

Mrs Wong, whose husband Vincent is Canadian, had an appointment to register her son’s birth at Sevenoaks library on 24 March.

But she was informed it could not go ahead, and she should check back three weeks later.

“Naturally, we were understanding at the time… [but] there has been no change,” she said.

“Now, three months later, this is unacceptable.

“So many other businesses have adapted to the changing environment… there are ways around it that don’t necessitate in person registrations.”

Mrs Wong added the family wanted to fly to Canada as soon as travel restrictions were lifted.

In a statement, KCC said: “Kent has more locations for registrations than most other authorities, and because we need them all to be open and operating from the same date, it is taking a while to make all locations safe for visitors, including the installation of purpose-built screens.

“It is possible in an emergency, such as the need for a passport for urgent foreign travel, to register a birth face to face.

“However, as foreign travel to anywhere outside the UK is difficult if not impossible at the moment, we expect our birth registrations service to be up and running again before those travel restrictions are lifted.”

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