Coronavirus: Stranded tourists 'living off noodles'

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Paul NicholasImage source, PAul Nicholas
Image caption,
Paul Nicholas has been stuck in Saudi Arabia since the lockdown started

Tourists who are stuck in India and Saudi Arabia due to the coronavirus lockdown have said they have been forced to live off instant noodles.

Paul Nicholas, from Penclawdd, Swansea, has been stuck in Riyadh, while Carina Rees and her boyfriend Oskar Field have been unable to leave Agra in India.

Mr Nicholas said he could face a fine of more than £2,000 or 20 days in jail if he broke Saudi Arabia's curfew.

The Foreign Office said it was "working around the clock" to bring people home.

Image source, Carina Rees
Image caption,
A typical dinner for Ms Rees and Mr Field during lockdown

Mr Nicholas said he only planned to stay in Saudi Arabia for two weeks, but has now been there for five.

"I need to get home to see my family," he said.

"I have been living off fruit and Pot Noodles as I have to rush out and get food in the morning and after 3pm there is a curfew until 6am.

"But I do not want to get stuck here for a couple of months - there are no flights and I haven't heard anything from the Foreign Office."

Image source, Carina Rees
Image caption,
Carina Rees and Oskar Field were on an around-the-world trip when lockdown restrictions were imposed in India

Ms Rees, from West Cross in Swansea, and Mr Field, from Falmouth, Cornwall, were also forced to turn to instant noodles as a food source after they got stuck in India while on an around-the-world trip.

"But we have been stuck in this guest house in Agra for 17 days, after we got to our hotel and they wouldn't take us in," she said.

"Day-to-day we have been having mainly instant noodles as there is no kitchen.

"We have been buying tomatoes to eat with crisps, biscuits and protein.

"We were in Agra when President Modi instructed there was going to be a lockdown with four hours notice - we couldn't get to Delhi."

She said they had heard "nothing" from the Foreign Office, but had been able to book flights back from Delhi to London Heathrow.

Image source, Carina Rees
Image caption,
Ms Rees and Mr Field have been unable to cook anything as they do not have a kitchen

Gower MP Tonia Antoniazzi, who has taken up both cases, said: "Unless the Government puts on a repatriation flight to get [Mr Nicholas] out of Saudi, he is not getting home."

She said she was "delighted" Ms Rees and Mr Field were now able to return back to Britain.

She added: "It will be a huge relief to know my constituents will finally be back home.

"The FCO have been clearly overwhelmed.

"This has been a huge hurdle for MPs to overcome when we are desperately trying to get our constituents home to their families."

Tens of thousands of Britons are stranded across the world as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

A Foreign 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 government has partnered with a number of airlines who have committed to work together to get Brits back to the UK and up to £75m has been made available for charter flights where commercial options are no longer available."