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Coronavirus Kent: Flight home arranged for couple trapped in Northern Cyprus

A flight home has finally been arranged for a Kent couple trapped in Northern Cyprus due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Linda and Grant Gibson were only four days into their holiday at the Salamis Bay Conti Hotel when they were placed in two weeks quarantine after another guest at the resort contracted Covid-19.

Grant and Linda Gibson have now been booked onto a flight home on Monday
Grant and Linda Gibson have now been booked onto a flight home on Monday

But their nightmare continued when they were told all flights out of the country would cease from March 21 - three days before their isolation period was due to end.

The couple, from Lyminge, near Folkestone, contacted the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the British High Commission, as well as Folkestone and Hythe MP Damian Collins and Ashford MP Damian Green, asking for help to get them home.

And they've now finally received some good news - Cypriot authorities have granted permission for an Easy Jet flight to leave Southern Cyprus and return to the UK on Monday (March 30).

Mr Gibson, 65, said: "We're absolutely ecstatic that a flight home has been sorted. It will nearly be a month that we've been here.

"But we are also very anxious that something will happen, that it will be suspended.

Linda and Grant, at the far end of the table, with their fellow Brits stuck in Cyprus. This is them in their new accommodation enjoying their first meal outside of their quarantined hotel room in 15 days
Linda and Grant, at the far end of the table, with their fellow Brits stuck in Cyprus. This is them in their new accommodation enjoying their first meal outside of their quarantined hotel room in 15 days

"It's very important we get that flight home."

The couple are desperate to return to Kent as they take care of an elderly relative, 99-year-old Gladys May Eva.

The couple made arrangements for Gladys to be taken care of while they were away. Their dog, Squeak, is also being looked after.

Mr Gibson, who works part time at Port Lympne as a safari truck driver said: "We're increasingly worried about Gladys. She's feeling very anxious and confused."

Following the end of their two week isolation yesterday, the Gibsons were presented with a certificate to say they had completed the quarantine and that they are showing no symptoms.

They have also been moved, along with a group of other Brits, to another hotel, as theirs closed for a deep clean.

Grant before they were placed in isolation
Grant before they were placed in isolation

They will stay there until Monday, and then - after being given special permission - will cross the border from the north to the south, so they can catch their flight home from Larnaca airport.

Also staying at their hotel is Janet Sullivan, parish councillor for Singleton and Great Chart in Ashford.

Mrs Sullivan, who is travelling with a friend, will get the same flight home as the Gibsons.

Mr Gibson, who has three children and two grandchildren with Linda, added: "Our thanks go to our travel company Cyprus Paradise, for helping us locally.

"Damian Collins and Damian Green for the UK lobbying, the TRNC (Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus) authorities for helping us through an extremely challenging process including clearing a path for us through the UN Green Line.

"Also to the staff at the two hotels who have themselves taken real risks to help us (28 cases of coronavirus were found at our original hotel hence the 14 day quarantine).

"Our friend and family who have been unstinting in their daily contact and support.

The couple were enjoying a lovely holiday before the quarantine
The couple were enjoying a lovely holiday before the quarantine

"A hero of mine has also been in regular contact - Rory Delap of Stoke City FC, who was known renowned for his long throw and for upsetting Arsene Wenger the Arsenal manager!"

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