Tourist Says He's Lived In Airport For 110 Days Amid Lockdown
Roman Trofimov, from Estonia, had been travelling in south east Asia and touched down at Manila Ninoy Aquino International Airport from Bangkok on 20 March. However, he was refused entry due to visas no longer being issued to arrivals.
Roman said his passport was taken off him before going through immigration and the airline could not return him to Thailand. He claims he has lived in the departure area of the airport ever since.
Initially, Roman had to sleep on the floor and on metal chairs in the waiting areas, but after about a week he was given a room with a bed, surviving off snacks donated by airport staff.
Manila was under the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) for a few months before it shifted to a lower level General Community Quarantine in June. However, despite having a more relaxed guideline under the GCQ status, most flights are still not allowed to resume.
He said: ''I've been stuck here for more than 100 days. I need help getting out.
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"The airline said I need to wait for Enhanced Community Quarantine to be over before I am allowed to fly. I've been waiting here ever since.
"I am a person with disability, my health is getting worse because of malnutrition, lack of sun, and fresh air. I have no other choice but to go public."
Roman had been saving up for his 'dream' trip around south east Asia for more than a year, but the unforeseen impact of Covid-19 has turned this dream into a nightmare.
Leen Lindam, a spokesperson for the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told ERR: "The Embassy of Estonia in Tokyo has been in contact with Philippines authorities to find a solution and has been in contact with the Honorary Consul in the Philippines who has also dealt with improving the living conditions.
"The person has not taken any of the proposed flights the ministry and the consul have offered and has also declined an evacuation flight to return home.
"It is important to note that he flew to the Philippines during a time when countries had announced emergency situations and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had given a travel warning, which informed people that travelling during the emergency situation might leave them stuck in the destination due to travel restrictions."
Leen added that Roman would 'have the chance to return to Estonia in the coming days'.
Featured Image Credit: Viral Press