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Distressed Brits Trapped In Bali As All Flights Cancelled Due To Coronavirus

Distressed Brits Trapped In Bali As All Flights Cancelled Due To Coronavirus

Around 200 Brits trapped in Bali spent seven hours in Denpasar Airport before being asked to leave by security, as they now face the prospect of being trapped for months.

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Footage taken at the scene shows the airport's departure area packed full of tourists desperate to get home from the south-east Asian holiday destination, as the coronavirus pandemic continues to wreak havoc around the globe.

Michael Towey, an IT manager for Barclays, had been away with his girlfriend for three weeks, when the government announced that all Britons abroad were to return immediately.

After spending seven hours in the airport hoping to go home, all the stranded tourists were told to leave, with some having nowhere to go and no money.

And while you might think there are worse places to be stranded, the country is potentially set to go into lockdown, meaning hotels and bars could close down indefinitely.

Michael had been in the airport for seven hours hoping to travel home. Credit: LADbible
Michael had been in the airport for seven hours hoping to travel home. Credit: LADbible
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Having had his flights cancelled, Michael, from Liverpool, told LADbible: "The only option is to put pressure on the Foreign Office in the UK to arrange a rescue plane. This has been done in Peru - we've been told - with other Brits stranded. So it's possible.

"The Foreign Office are saying they're looking into it and will be in touch. I've been to the British Embassy here, but they only had security staff there as everyone is working from home. So they just added our names to a list and said they would pass it on."

According to information given out to tourists, Emirates flights have all been cancelled and no other airlines have any availability.

Credit: LADbible
Credit: LADbible

Meanwhile, MPs have been involved to try to charter a rescue plane to get them home, but it's difficult for airlines as the plane needs to re-fuel halfway and countries that usually allow planes to land have put up travel restrictions amid the ongoing pandemic.

As well as the fact there has just been a 6.3 magnitude earthquake in the country, adding to tensions, tourists feel let down by the lack of guidance from both their airlines and the Foreign Office.

Michael added: "We're even more anxious because, to make matters worse, here in Indonesia tomorrow is Nyepi. It's a Balinese 'Day of Silence', a festival that happens once a year.

"During the festival they switch off everything - lights, electric and even internet connections and phone signal for one day. So that means we can't communicate with anyone.

"Some people are running out of money too because they've tried to get on other flights that were cancelled."

Michael had been in Bali for three weeks. Credit: LADbible
Michael had been in Bali for three weeks. Credit: LADbible

A spokesperson for Emirates told LADbible: "The implementation of flight and travel restrictions by countries around the world to contain the COVID-19 outbreak, has been ongoing for the past weeks. Many were put in place with very little notice.

"Emirates understands that these are disruptive to travel, but as an airline operator, we have to follow government and regulatory directives. On 23 March, the UAE government directed that all passengers flights to/from and transiting the UAE should be suspended for two weeks. This means all Emirates passenger flights have to be temporarily suspended from 25 March.

"Since then, our teams have been working hard to inform customers and re-book as many as possible onto our remaining flights or others. But with many airlines having already significantly reduced their flights, it simply is not possible to accommodate every traveller.

"Travellers seeking repatriation assistance should contact their embassies."

Credit: LADbible
Credit: LADbible

And it seems that Michael and his girlfriend are not alone with their situation - reports have been coming in to LADbible from around the world.

Travellers in Cambodia have been affected by the same issues, with one of them setting up a petition to try to get the government to take more notice of their plight.

The change.org page reads: "There are a number of British Citizens who are stranded here in Cambodia with no option to return home. All commercial flights are being cancelled and the English Embassy in Phnom Penh has refused to answer the phone and has failed to meet any British persons face to face who come for information or support.

"There seems to be no option for us to get home without the help of the British Government to organise a chartered flight. We are all desperate to return home to our families during this scary time and the lack of information and support from our own Embassy is concerning."

The same goes for 400 foreigners who are stuck in Peru, one of which emailed LADbible with details of how they are struggling to return.

Stranded tourists wait outside the closed Jorge Chavez International Airport in Peru. Credit: PA
Stranded tourists wait outside the closed Jorge Chavez International Airport in Peru. Credit: PA

Dominic Raab today announced that the Peruvian government is currently working with the UK to repatriate citizens, as well as Singaporean authorities - the latter of which is especially important for travellers who are struggling to return from New Zealand and Australia.

An FCO spokesperson told LADbible: "We recognise British tourists abroad are finding it difficult to return to the UK because of the unprecedented international travel and domestic restrictions that are being introduced around the world - often with very little or no notice.

"The FCO is working around the clock to support British travelers in this situation to allow them to come back to the UK. The Government is seeking to keep key transit routes open as long as possible and is in touch with international partners and the airline industry to make this happen.

"Consular staff are supporting those with urgent need while providing travel advice and support to those still abroad."

Featured Image Credit: LADbible

Topics: World News, Coronavirus, travel

Amelia Ward

Amelia is a journalist at LADbible. After studying journalism at Liverpool John Moores and Salford Uni (don't ask), she went into PR and then the world of music. After a few years working on festivals and events, she went back to her roots. In her spare time, Amelia likes music, Liverpool FC, and spending good, quality time with her cat, Paul. You can contact Amelia at [email protected]

 

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