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Coronavirus: Hampshire postman stuck in Guatemala says embassy has been 'zero help' in getting him home

23 Mar 2020, 14:25

https://www.portsmouth.co.uk/health/cor ... me-2505504

A HAMPSHIRE postman on the holiday of a lifetime in Central America said he has been left effectively stranded after he was forced to go into lockdown with seemingly little chance of being repatriated over coronavirus fears.

Marc Wilson, 33, from Southampton, accused the British embassy in Guatemala of absolving itself of responsibility since contacting them last week when his return flight to the UK was cancelled.

Mr Wilson said he is now in ‘100 per cent lockdown’ and is unable to leave his accommodation.

Roads have also been closed, meaning a bus from the capital Guatemala City into neighbouring Mexico for a possible flight back to the UK is currently out of the question.

Speaking from Peten, which is more than seven hours' drive from the capital, Mr Wilson told the PA news agency: ‘I would like to get back to the UK immediately.

‘At first I thought that I would be able to get home when my return flight is due on April 1 as this is the day when the current laws are relaxed.

‘But Delta have cancelled my flight and have no information as to when it may resume. They said until the US border opens, there is no seat available to me on any flight to get me home.

‘The embassy in Guatemala has been zero help.

‘They have not replied to any emails of mine and they are publishing their plans to try and get us out too late for anyone outside of Guatemala City to join.

‘The numbers in the UK have been equally as helpful, just referring me to a Facebook page. Some people have received emails from the embassy telling them how to get out, others haven't.

‘It seems completely random as to who they have contacted.’

He added: ‘We are being treated as if we are a responsibility the embassy here do not want to have.

‘They are only offering to bus us to the Mexican border. I can only see this as a way to absolve them of as much responsibility for as many people as possible.

‘We understand we might not be able to get out of the country right now, but there has been no advice on what is best to do.’

Mr Wilson said he and fellow Britons he has befriended in Guatemala are ‘beginning to get scared’, with local people believing Europeans are to blame for the coronavirus spreading across Central America.

He added: ‘Guatemala is not a particularly safe country, especially with what is happening now.

‘People who already don't earn a great deal of money have now lost their income because everything is shut. We really do not know what else to do.

‘We are not unreasonable people, it may very well be impossible to repatriate us at this moment, but the embassy here is not acting in the interests of British citizens, and we are not being given any advice as to how we can stay safe.’

Foreign Office guidance says there are local bus companies transporting foreigners to borders at Tecun Uman and El Carmen.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: ‘We recognise that any British people currently overseas may be nervous about the impact of coronavirus on their travel and their health.

‘We are in close contact with travel providers and our international partners to provide support to those British people affected by ongoing measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19.’

Coronavirus: Hampshire postman stuck in Guatemala says embassy has been 'zero help' in getting him home

23 Mar 2020, 15:26

What's the government suppose to do if the flight has been cancelled and Guatemala is in lock down

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