‘Get us home’: ICU nurse stuck in UK amid COVID-19 crisis
A GYMPIE couple stranded in England as the coronavirus crisis wreaks havoc around the globe say it could be months before they’re back on home soil.
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The Gympie Times sales consultant Andrew Guiver and his wife Deborah flew to London on short notice earlier this month when Deborah’s father became gravely ill and passed away in Walkford, about “an hour and a half” away.
Alarm bells sounded soon after Singapore’s airports closed and cancelled a flight booked for March 29, sending the Guivers into a scramble to find their way back to Australia.
It looked like they had found luck through a Qantas-Emirates booking for Tuesday, but yet another cancellation now has Mr Guiver looking at an extended stay overseas in trying conditions.
“It’s been a bit of a rollercoaster to say the least, it’s been an interesting four or five days trying to get home,” Mr Guiver said.
“The funeral is tomorrow (March 26), and we booked flights for the 29th through Singapore Airlines to get home, but that was cancelled as Singapore closed its borders.
“I jumped on to Qantas looking for the cheapest, most efficient way home, found an Emirates flight through Qantas, booked that and was assured the flight for Tuesday was good to go, but we were devastated because that meant we would miss the funeral.
“I checked online again on Monday and it was cancelled.
“At the moment we’ve got no idea when we’re going to get back. I’m getting up every morning and looking at flights, but it’s not very good.”
Mr Guiver said the “fluid” coronavirus situation has made it tough to determine when flights will be available, and how reliable they will be.
To make matters worse, Deborah has no way to return to her important work as an intensive care nurse at the Sunshine Coast University Hospital.
“She’s keen to get back and help of course, there are limited flights available and there’s no guarantee they will eventuate, financially it’s been a nightmare,” Mr Guiver said.
“We’ve just isolated ourselves, we try to get our for an hour’s walk every day, I get up early in the morning to check my emails and communicate with clients.
“The support from all my clients has been fantastic, but it’s tough, mate.
“Best case scenario we’re about a month away, probably more. It’s a harrowing time already for the family. It’s a stressful time but all we can do is bunker down.”