Haverhill couple's plea to UK Government to get them home from New Zealand
A couple from Haverhill are desperate to get a flight back home after being ‘abandoned’ in New Zealand due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Jade Hatfield, 36, and her boyfriend Mitchell Human, 24, are currently in a backpackers’ hostel in Auckland with the country having yesterday begun a four-week lock down as it attempts to stop the spread of the virus.
They were due to fly back home this Saturday at the end of a three-week holiday that they had saved 18-months for and although they paid out £700 to have their flights brought forward to March 24, the flight was cancelled and their money lost.
Jade said: “There’s no flights available. All the borders are closed in Singapore, Hong Kong, the places you would normally go to get a connecting flight, are closed.”
Emirates Airline, said Jade, had cancelled all its flights as of yesterday and were not flying until the end of June. Other airlines were also not running.
Like countless other Britons in Auckland, the couple turned to the British consulate for help, but it was hopeless.
Speaking on Tuesday, Jade said: “People turned up at the consulate to register today and it was closed. There was a sign on the door saying it was closed.
“We have basically been abandoned here. You can’t get through to anyone on the phone.
“It is a disaster but we are in the middle of a pandemic so what can you do about it.”
Jade and Mitchell’s holiday insurance also runs out this Sunday and they cannot renew it while in another country, adding to their anxieties.
Fortunately, the couple have a private room in the hostel and can stay there for the lock down period, while also self-isolating, but with the money they had for the trip being eaten up they need help to cover their costs.
A fund-raising page has been set up to help them get home and pay for extra travel and accommodation fees.
Jade called on the UK Government to do more to help them and other stranded Brits.
“They need to get on with it. There are hundreds of us stranded here,” she said.
A Foreign Office spokeswoman said: “We recognise British tourists abroad are finding it difficult to return to the UK because of the unprecedented international travel and domestic restrictions that are being introduced around the world – often with very little or no notice.
“The FCO is working around the clock to support British travelers in this situation to allow them to come back to the UK.
“The Government is seeking to keep key transit routes open as long as possible and is in touch with international partners and the airline industry to make this happen.
“Consular staff are supporting those with urgent need while providing travel advice and support to those still abroad.”
More by this authorSteve Barton