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Coronavirus Kent: Government working to rescue British people stranded abroad

The UK government is currently working to repatriate hundreds of thousands of people who are stranded away from home due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

People from Kent and across the country are desperately trying to return to Britain as airlines cancel flights and countries close borders in efforts to contain the spread of the virus.

Mr Raab told Parliament hundreds of thousands of people were stranded in other countries.
Mr Raab told Parliament hundreds of thousands of people were stranded in other countries.

Speaking at the House of Commons this afternoon, Dominic Raab, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, told MPs the Foreign Office is hard at work attempting to bring people home.

He said: "We have flights lined up and we need to work around the restrictions.

"We have hundreds of thousands of people stranded abroad - we are doing everything we can to give them as much support as possible."

Mr Raab added: "We have already repatriated thousands of nationals, from 26 countries as far as Cuba."

According to the Secretary of State, 46 planes were chartered to bring people back from Morocco, and 350 people stuck in South Africa earlier this month were also brought back by air.

The Home Secretary said many people were still stranded in Spain. Stock photo.
The Home Secretary said many people were still stranded in Spain. Stock photo.

He also said Spain was of particular concern, with a lot of people left stranded after going on holiday before the lockdown.

Mr Raab said: "In Spain there are a large number of people holidaying, and we have spoken to Spain and they will be allowed to stay in their hotels until a flight can be arranged home."

A mum-of-two from Ramsgate is currently stranded in the Philippines with no way of getting home to her family.

Eva Perkins flew to Asia with her friend Stuart Atchison to visit relatives on March 6, but after trying to make plans to fly home as the Covid-19 situation worsened realised all flights had been cancelled.

Both of them are diabetic and suffer with hypertension.

Stuart Atchison and Eva Perkins are stranded in the Philippines
Stuart Atchison and Eva Perkins are stranded in the Philippines

Mrs Perkins said they were told foreign nationals would have 72 hours to arrange to leave, but flights quickly sold out and the government then rescinded the 72 hour allowance.

The government say they are working with as many countries as possible to devise plans to bring people home as quickly as possible.

Mr Raab has also reminded British nationals stranded in other countries that they can ask for help at embassies.

He said: "I can give the reassurance, were ever possible embassies are being kept open so British nationals can get help."

People stuck in Australia and New Zealand are being given accommodation if they are unable to secure a flight home.

Around 1000 people are stuck in Peru, with the government working out a way to try and repatriate them.

The Home Secretary also said he was concerned about the situation in Bali, where there are around 6000 British people stuck there.

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