Four nurses stranded in Cambodia are desperately trying to get back to the UK before the country closes its borders.
Valerie Travis, 60, and Anna Williams, 52, from Broadgreen and Elaine Moorley, 62, and Diane Thomlinson, 47, from Wigan, were due to return home from the capital Phnom Penh with Emirates on Monday, but their flight was cancelled the day before.
The group who work together as mental health nurses in Warrington, used their credit cards to book onto the next available flight, flying back to the UK on Friday, March 27 via Hong Kong.
But due to border restrictions in Hong Kong amid the coronavirus pandemic, this has also now been cancelled.
The group first left the UK on March 1 to start their holiday in Vietnam, before flying over to Cambodia on March 12.
Valerie said she has almost maxed out her credit card paying for the flights and they have been given no information about how they can get home before Cambodia closes its borders – which they fear could happen tomorrow.
A spokesperson from the Foreign Office said the FCO is working around the clock to support British travelers in this situation to allow them to come back to the UK.
Valerie told the ECHO: “We’re desperate, we don’t know any way of getting home.
“We were supposed to fly home with Emirates on Monday but when we went online on Sunday it said all flights were cancelled.
“We went to the British embassy and no one spoke English so we rang the embassy in London and they told us to go back and then someone eventually spoke to us.
“They told us to book a flight to Heathrow which goes via Hong Kong and then on to Manchester and I paid for it on my credit card but we can’t get that flight now either because Hong Kong has closed their borders.
“We don’t know what else to do, no one seems to care when we speak to them, we’ve got no one to help us.
“We’re all nurses. We want to get home and help with what’s going on with the virus.
“Our family’s are so worried.”
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Valerie said they have met other tourists from the UK and other countries including France, Germany and America who are stuck in the same situation as them, with no way of getting home.
The group are currently staying in a hotel close to the airport but Valerie fears they are going to run out of money soon.
Valerie said: “We’re scared they’ll close all the hotels and what will we do then sleep on the streets?
“I’ve nearly maxed out my credit card paying for the flight.
“The embassy told us to get our families to send us money but my parents aren’t around anymore and I can’t ask my children to send me some.
“Anna and Diane have both got elderly mothers back home and our children are really worried.”
Valerie said shops and hotels are still open in Phnom Penh but they have to have their temperature taken before they are allowed to go inside.
She added: “People are terrified of us when we go into shops, they run away from us because they’ve heard on the news about the situation in England.
“We need to get home before Cambodia close their borders.”
A Foreign Office spokesperson, said: “We recognize 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.”
For the latest travel advice from the Foreign Office click here.