North Somerset couple stuck in India ‘desperate’ to come home after contracting virus
PUBLISHED: 14:00 25 March 2020 | UPDATED: 08:51 26 March 2020
‘Tears are not going to help at this moment’ says the family of North Somerset pensioners stuck in Asia after contracting coronavirus.
Nairn Lawson, aged 76, and his wife Elizabeth Lawson, aged 75, tested positive for Covid-19 after travelling to the Kerala, in India.
Elizabeth and Nairn, who has underlying health conditions, travelled to India on March 6 when they were told it was safe to do so after seeking travel advice.
Three days into their holiday, one person fell ill with flu-like symptoms and was taken to get tested for coronavirus but tested negative.
As they were preparing to board their flight to return home on March 15, the flight was stopped by officials who said the gentleman who had fallen ill before had tested positive for the virus.
The rest of the group, who had already boarded the flight, were taken off the aircraft one by one to get tested.
The couple have since been taken into a medical facility to self-isolate along with five other Britons who tested positive for the virus.
Their daughter Joanne Chilcott said her parents’ mental health and wellbeing is going to take a long time to pick up.
Joanne said: “My dad had open-heart surgery last year. He has been amazing since then, that’s why they were able to go on the holiday.
“The holiday was so they could get some sun on their bones and to relax.
“Mum and dad are isolated in their own rooms and another lady can shout through a gap in a wall to communicate.
“The facility they are in has rat droppings. The staff at the facility said the droppings were old, but he wedged a bar of soap in the wall which was gnawed.
“One of the ladies’ rooms has blood on the sink. There’s mould, dust and grime.
“They’ve been feeding them boiled eggs and salad, and they are having trouble getting food down.
“Tears aren’t going to help at the moment, we need to get them home.”
The family in the UK are now trying to get their parents moved to a private facility, so they can be in ‘clean conditions’.
Joanne, an occupational therapist, has also started a letter writing campaign to get them home and is urging others to write to the Government to appeal for them to help.
She added: “We are desperate to have them in a safe space and then have them home.
“We are trying to keep up the pressure, trying to keep up with work and to get them home.
“They have shut down all the flights now and there’s a lockdown in India so I don’t know what that means.
“They were tested again three days ago but they haven’t had their results. They were also tested again yesterday (Tuesday) but still haven’t had any results.
“It’s frustrating because we can’t get straight information from people.”
There have been more than 560 positive cases of coronavirus in India with 10 reported deaths – as of March 25.
The Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, has imposed a ‘total lockdown’ for 21 days to slow down the spread of the virus which comes into place from 6.30pm today (March 25).
MP for North Somerset, Dr Liam Fox described the situation as ‘distressing’.
He said: “In the current emergency, my team and I have been dealing, with a number of constituents who are stranded abroad. The case of Capt and Mrs Lawson is a particularly distressing one given their ages and the conditions in which they are being kept.
“We have been in regular touch with the FCO and the High Commission. The holiday company have also tried to get their accommodation improved.
“Given the total lockdown in India it is not clear what the authorities intend to do but every effort will be made to shorten the terrible ordeal they are enduring at least in part due to utter inefficiency on behalf of the Indian authorities.”
Mercury Holidays have been contacted for a comment.
To write a letter, email firstname.lastname@example.org
If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the North Somerset Times. Click the link in the orange box above for details.