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Watch first embrace between mom and son after COVID-19 kept them apart almost 3 years

After spending two years and eight months away from the UK, Australia based Sam decided to spring the surprise trip home with the help of his stepdad and two siblings.

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By Douglas Whitbread via SWNS

This heart-warming footage shows the first embrace between a mom and her son after COVID-19 travel restrictions kept them thousands of miles apart for almost three years.

Emotional Fiona Murphy, 58, said she "almost had a heart attack" when Australia-based Sam Wilkinson, 30, made the surprise trip back home on Tuesday, June 28.

She'd previously visited her son Down Under every six months, but due to the country's strict pandemic protocols she hasn't been able to see him in person since 2019.

And Sam - who kept in contact with his family via video calls - even told his mom just 48 hours earlier that he could only return to the UK in September.

But in reality, the sales professional had hatched a plan to fly back for a sneaky visit the next day – leaving his mom in “disbelief” when he walked through the door.

Fiona said: “I was working from home that day, and I nearly had a heart attack when he walked into the front room. I had no idea he was coming home.

“I was in a state of disbelief. I just could not believe what I was seeing in front of me. It was just bizarre.

“Having only spoken to him 48 hours before, I couldn’t get my head around the fact that he wasn’t in Australia any more – he was in the front room, at home. It was just crazy.”

Fiona, from Liverpool, said her son had gone out to Australia six years ago as a postgraduate student, and later settled in Sydney where he found a job.

But after spending two years and eight months away from the UK, he'd decided to spring the surprise trip home with the help of his stepdad and two siblings.

Fiona said: “My son’s been in Australia for the last six years, and we as a family have seen him every six months.

“Then obviously the pandemic hit, and we couldn’t, so I spoke to him regularly on Facetime.

“And when I spoke to him, he said: “Well, hopefully I’ll get home in September.

“But his stepdad and his brother and his sister had been scheming – and he was actually flying home the next day."

Fiona said Sam was due to fly back to Australia on July 11, and she had set aside plenty of "precious" family time with him before then.

She said: “He flies back to Australia on 11 July. It’s just a couple of weeks, so our time is dead precious, just because it’s so short.

“Nobody knew he was coming home except for my husband and two kids.

“So we’ve been seeing grandparents and just having some lovely family days out – and just having some quality time as a family.”

Australia re-opened its borders to fully-vaccinated travellers on February 21 this year, after implementing some of the most stringent Covid-19 restrictions in the world.

National requirements for travelers to take pre-departure PCR tests were also dropped on April 18 this year, but regional protocols still apply in some states and territories.

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