Cambridge travellers trapped abroad in countries under lockdown
Cambridge residents stranded in Peru, Mexico, New Zealand, Spain and Portugal are part of the estimated one million people trying to return to the UK since the coronavirus outbreak.
Closed borders, cancelled flights and trains mean worried travellers are running out of cash and options. And many are complaining they cannot get help from British diplomatic services.
Sawston backpacker Brianna Lewis, 24, has found herself stuck in Peru, which is in lockdown, and unsure if she will even be able to catch one of the proposed repatriation flights back to the UK because her passport has been stolen and the British Embassy is closed.
She told the Cambridge Independent: “We have been having an awful time. I had my bag snatched in a restaurant which contained my passport. I was due to travel to Cusco so I still caught my bus, expecting to go to the British Embassy, but it is closed.
“Now the whole country is in lockdown and we can’t go out. The police also keep coming into our hostel to check if we are drinking alcohol, which is not allowed, and 60 of us were breathalysed using the same machine which obviously is not hygienic and could easily have spread the virus.
“We are not allowed out of the hostel and I don’t know if we are allowed to leave the country. I’m very worried and just want to come home but without my passport I don’t know if that is possible.
“The idea of self-isolating in the hostel is a joke as we are all sharing large dormitories where we are crammed together.”
South Cambridgeshire MP Anthony Browne has taken on Brianna’s case and is raising it with the Foreign Office.
Meanwhile, Cambridge residents Emily Hinkley and Dr Bryony Ross are stuck in Mexico.
Dr Ross says: “Worryingly upon speaking to the British Embassy in Mexico we were advised to ask family and friends to send us money so that we may sustain ourselves out here. As a scientist and a doctor, we hope to return home as soon as possible. “
Daniel Zeichner, Cambridge MP, has called for a dedicated, free hotline to help people get the advice they need to get home.
He added: “We need rescue flights for those struggling to get home from some countries around the world.”
More by this authorAlex Spencer