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Coronavirus Kent: Gillingham woman stranded in Fiji

A young woman who found herself stranded in Fiji for nearly two weeks is on her way home.

Emma Hough from Gillingham had been at pains to find flights which would get her back from the Pacific country.

Emma Hough from Gillingham is stuck in Fiji. Picture: Kim Hough
Emma Hough from Gillingham is stuck in Fiji. Picture: Kim Hough

The former Chatham Grammar for Girls pupil is celebrating her birthday today as she travels to Los Angeles, and then on to England on a chartered flight.

After backpacking through Australia, New Zealand and Tasmania, Emma was finishing off her trip in Fiji.

She became stranded in the country, living in a hostel with other young people, after Fiji halted all flights from its main airport.

Emma had missed a flight to Australia after its government changed its policy, meaning she had to obtain a special transfer.

Her family back in England set about trying to get in touch with MPs and the press to raise awareness of the situation.

Emma (left) with friends she met while backpacking. Picture: Kim Hough
Emma (left) with friends she met while backpacking. Picture: Kim Hough

Her mum Kim Hough, of Victoria Street, Gillingham, said: "It’s her birthday today and it’s the best present ever.

"She left Fiji about 8am on her way to LA. We are expecting her in England late tomorrow afternoon.

"I’m willing to keep fighting for others. I know there is a lot out there but at at least last night they announced that they are sending more flights out."

Yesterday, during the government's daily press briefing on coronavirus, the foreign secretary Dominic Raab updated the public about his department's measures to get people home.

He said: "For those travellers still stuck abroad, we’re doing everything we can to keep international airports open, to keep commercial flights running, and to charter flights, when there are no other options."

A total of £75 million has been pledged to support arrangements to get people home where they can.

Emma's return comes after a couple from Rochester managed to get home after they were stranded – and went straight into self-isolation.

Benjamin Stokes and his partner Yasmin Chadwick, arrived on the Indonesian island of Bali last month after travelling around South East Asia.

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