Kirsty Fisher, 25, and her partner Calum have been working in Antigua since before Christmas and were due to return to Scotland in May.
But on the night Calum heard the news that his father has been diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer, the Antiguan border force imposed a total lockdown.
The family have been told the cancer is unreatable and now the couple are pleading with the Foreign Office and airlines to get them home as soon as possible.
“The night of that news, Antigua went into a 24-hour lockdown for a week, shutting the airport and all other travel,” said Kirsty.
“Leaving your house is forbidden and you can only go out between 9am and 12pm to get essential food.
“That lockdown got extended for another week, taking it to April 15. Since getting that news, we have been looking at ways to try to get home but all of the flights have been cancelled and we are forbidden to move so options like flying to the next islands, where there are still scheduled flights to Europe, are not possible.”
She said the couple had been emailing and phoning everyone they can think of to try to find out if there will be repatriation flights.
“We have contacted the embassy here, the Foreign Office in London, the airport in Antigua, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic,” she said.
“None of these have provided us with any hopeful information. I think the FO are our best hope but they keep just sending generic emails, telling us to follow the Eastern Caribbean travel updates, which of course we have been doing right from the start.
“Our situation is very time precious as we want to get back as soon as possible to spend time with Calum’s father. We feel like we have exhausted all our options and cannot find a way to get home.
“I think a week ago, we really thought we would be home by now.”
The Foreign Office has budgeted £75m to help stranded Brits get home safely, but this money is not being spent quickly enough according to Perth and North Perthshire MP Pete Wishart
He said: “My office have contacted consular services and have written to the Foreign Office notifying them of cases where constituents face desperate situations and while I understand that they may be overwhelmed by the scale of the challenge facing them and no doubt the weight of correspondence they are receiving what is much more worrying is the lack of evidence that repatriation flights are being put in place with any urgency.
A spokesman for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said: “We know it’s a difficult time for many British travellers abroad — especially those facing challenging circumstances.
“Our consular teams are doing everything they can, especially for those in difficulty, to keep Brits informed on the latest developments and help them return — on commercial flights where they are still available or special charter flights as well. We’ll continue working around the clock to bring people home.”
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This is tragic, but there are many in a similar situation. My father died overseas on Sunday and I can’t get there for the funeral. These are sad situations, but we are in the midst of a plague. These people have my sympathy, BUT there are many of us in similar situations, and we are not getting all this publicity. Sad
Is there any way you could get on a cargo boat back to uk
If it was me I would go on the cargo ship just to get back put my crackers water and so an rough it till I get bacl
Not to sound cold…but a country’s border should open for two passengers? Cool. What happen to the many others who have similar plights.
Your entire article reeked of your biases. The borders closed DUE TO A PANDEMIC! Talk the story how it go and maybe people would be more sympathetic to your plea. Come on…Antigua has nothing against you.
This situation is very sad but one that has been encountered by many. My heart goes out to all people who cannot be with their loved ones right now in this time of international crisis. However, I do not understand why this couple were not on the repatriation flights that were very clearly promoted throughout the media in good time for anyone to leave. I am a UK citizen and considered going back myself but decided against it. This couple works here and it was clear (at least to most of us) that once the virus hit Antiguan shores the country would have no choice but to shut down so I don’t understand the reasoning in not travelling back. I hope that it is clear that the Antiguan Government is in no way to blame for this situation. Sadly, the British Government have been shamefully slow and unhelpful in getting people home. I hope the flight details above assist all who are trying to get home. Peace and Love to all and God bless Antigua.
There was a repatriation flight last Weds that went to PR where there were flights out to other locations. It was all over Facebook.
Looks like they really didn’t want to get out. They likely knew about this. Antigua people will not be sympathetic. We are concerned about the man with cancer, but many of us have people in similar situations. In fact, some have close relatives who died, and there is no way to go to their funerals. These people need to understand the whole world is in a life and death plague. Stay where you are and wait it out. Being white, black, brown, Antiguan, or Brit has nothing to do with it. We all in this together.
That flight last Wed was organized by the US embassy for Americans. These Brits would not have been allowed.
Its hard, its real hard.
Who is going to provide a plane for the rest of us who have relatives on near death beds in Canada, the US, and England? Some have died already and we can’t get flights. We are sympathetic, but the reality is we are all in this together. It’s a difficult time everywhere, a time of sorrow everywhere. Nothing against this couple, but many of us are facing similar situations. God help us all.
This must be a very stressful, heartbreaking and frustrating time for the couple and their family. In terms of getting back home, hope for the best and prepare for the worst.
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There is a flight to Puerto Rico Thursday at 10:30am from Antigua on Silver Airways. Take that to San Juan, Puerto Rico and travel to the UK from there. You will need to transfer most likely but you wouldn’t be stuck.
Sounds like that’s the solution.
Going back to the UK mean they will have to quarantine for 14 days when they get there. I have to question their motive. Is it that now the cases are rising in Antigua they no longer think its a safe haven?
Can you imagine the number of Africans that wanted to get a boat back to Africa 500 years ago? The borders were close then also no one got a boat back.
I am sorry to hear of your plight. Please understand you will of no help to your father. You risk giving him and others the virus. You may be asymptomatic and feel fine but you could spread it to those who are frail. I have to stay away from people who are precious and loved too. Please consider this. Do not return to the UK and assume you will be able to be with your Dad. As a cancer patient he must stay isolated and with the important care he needs. If he’s lucid please talk on the phone,skype etc. If you insist on flying why do you both have to come? Please consider all of us. It is heartbreaking but the kindest thing we can do is stay away from those we love especially when they are ill.
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