Coronavirus: Woman stranded in Bali without medication returns

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Pauline and Steven Bennett.Image source, Pauline Bennett
Image caption,
Pauline and Steven Bennett said they were among more than 150 Britons stranded in Bali

A woman who ran out of chemotherapy medication while stranded in Bali said she was relieved to be back in the UK.

Pauline Bennett, 56, has a bone marrow disease and only had enough drug supplies to last until Saturday.

She feared she would die there after two return flights were cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak, but arrived at Heathrow Airport on Sunday.

"It's a relief to be home. I have never experienced stress, anxiety and desperation on such a level," she said.

Last week she said she felt abandoned by the government after airline Emirates suggested they might have to stay in Bali for three months.

She thanked staff at the British consulate in Bali for their help in finding flights home via Singapore, which cost the couple £4,600, but said the official advice for Britons stranded abroad was not useful.

"When the government says 'get home ASAP,' it is no help when airlines cancel flights. They need to have a plan to get their nationals home," she said.

Image source, Pauline Bennett
Image caption,
Mrs Bennett said Emirates staff at the Indonesian airport had been unable to help them get back to the UK

A Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokeswoman said: "We recognise 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 travellers in this situation, to allow them to come back to the UK."

Mrs Bennett and her husband Steven sought medical advice before travelling to Bali at the start of March to meet up with their daughter, who lives in Australia.

They became stranded on the Indonesian island when their return flight on 20 March and a replacement were both cancelled.

She said she now intended to self-isolate at home in Bishop's Stortford, Hertfordshire.

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