Coronavirus: British man 'left behind' in India

By Osob Elmi
BBC News

  • Published
Ivor Gunton and Geraldine Davis
Image caption,
Ivor was on holiday when he became ill in Goa

A British man has been left stranded in an Indian hospital following emergency surgery - after narrowly missing the last flights home.

Ivor Gunton, 77, became ill during an annual trip to Gura with wife Geraldine Davis, 72.

After he underwent the operation Ms Davis returned to the UK, expecting her husband to follow on a flight that day.

But upon arriving in the UK, Ms Davis was told the timing of border closures had meant her husband was left behind.

The pair, who have been married for 38 years, tried to return to Bristol as soon as Mr Gunton could travel, but a curfew was imposed due to coronavirus.

Ms Davis was able to fly out of the country on March 21, expecting her husband to be following by air ambulance the same day.

"It was horrible, and now he is alone. The thought of not knowing when he will be back is even worse."

But Mr Gunton, who underwent an operation to remove an intestinal tumour at Mothercare Hospital in Goa, has refused to let his predicament get him down.

"He is a strong character," his wife said.

"If that was me I would not be able to get through it."

Image caption,
Ivor was due to come home the same day as his wife

The couple's problems began in February.

Ms Davis said: "We spend five months every year in India but this time Ivor started getting abdominal pain and was sent to hospital where he was given two CT scans.

"The second one showed a tumour."

Coronavirus had already begun to spread in India and it became clear they needed to get home quickly.

In the fortnight since Mr Gunton was stranded, the couple's insurers, Royal Bank of Scotland, have been trying to liaise with the hospital, where he remains, to have him airlifted.

They need permission from the Indian Aviation Authority to repatriate him, but say they must wait for the results of coronavirus testing.

It is likely that will take up to a week.

"This, to me, is completely incomprehensible," said Ms Davis. "In the time it takes for the results to come and for the repatriation to then be requested he could easily catch the virus."

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