Nailsea couple stuck in New Zealand due to coronavirus lockdowns

Ian and Marian enjoying their holiday before the level four alert was declared.

Ian and Marian enjoying their holiday before the level four alert was declared. - Credit: Archant

A Nailsea couple are stranded on the other side of the world after their flights home were cancelled due to the coronavirus.

Ian and Marian Presland isolated in their holiday cottage.

Ian and Marian Presland isolated in their holiday cottage. - Credit: Archant

Ian and Marian Presland flew out to New Zealand on February 14 to enjoy a holiday of a lifetime to mark Marian’s retirement.

The couple spent a wonderful few weeks travelling, but just days before they were due to fly home the country announced a level 4 alert.

Their flights were cancelled and they are now confined to a holiday cottage with no way to get home and no idea how long they will be stuck there.

Marian said: “We’ve got no idea what’s happening. We are just in limbo.

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“We’ve been staying in holiday cottages for a few days and we’ve been having daily updates from the British Consulate, but there’s really no input from them as to what’s going to happen.

“We were expecting to be home on March 28.

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“When we flew out, there was talk of coronavirus in Singapore, but nowhere else. We came here, had a lovely holiday and then in the last couple of weeks it all happened.”

The country went into level four lockdown on March 25 to try to curb the spread of coronavirus.

This means police have the power to order any person to stop any activity that contributes to the spread of Covid-19 and can call on the military for support.

Ian added: “The level four alert means we have to stay in this place and we can’t move unless we have a document which says we’ve got a flight. Our travel insurance has run out and we can’t contact the travel agent because they are overwhelmed with calls, so we have no idea if we’re covered. We are paying costs to stay here. We’ve had three flights cancelled. Our original flight back was via Los Angeles, then Donald Trump shut down America.

“We then paid for a flight through Singapore but that closed. We were going to be re-routed through Hong Kong, but that closed.

“We know people who have paid thousands of pounds for tickets, but there’s no guarantee they will be able to fly home.

“The holiday chalet has a microwave and fridge and a shop down the road. We can cope on a day to day basis, but it’s very unsettling and we don’t know how long we’ll be here.”

Marian’s mum is also ‘gravely’ ill and the couple are keen to get home so they can be close to her if anything happens.

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