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Retired North Staffordshire teacher stranded in Indian hotel for 47 days after COVID-19 lockdown canceled return flights

By on April 29, 2020 0

A retired teacher who flew to India with friends has been stuck in a hotel for more than a month due to the coronavirus shutdown.

Kate Goodall is stranded in Udaipur with her Yorkshire friends.

They flew to India on March 11 where they were to spend two days in Delhi, one week in Goa, three days in Udaipur before starting a tour of Rajasthan and returning home on April 1.

However, Kate arrived in Udaipur the day before India’s shutdown on March 21, meaning all domestic and international flights have been suspended and all restaurants, bars and hotels have been forced to close.

Fortunately, the owner of Kate’s hotel, Lake Pichola, allowed them to stay and they have been isolated there ever since.

Kate says she and two friends couldn’t leave the hotel.

The 69-year-old, from Stone, said: “We flew from Goa to Udaipur on the day it was announced that the lockdown was in place so we weren’t aware of the measures taken that day.

“But the owner of the hotel, a very honorable man, did not deny us access to his hotel and graciously allowed us to stay.

“We have not been able to leave the hotel since our arrival, but we were lucky enough to get medication from the pharmacies our hotel organized and it was a huge relief.

“The owner and his family, the restrained skeletal staff and ourselves are all confined together.

“We were treated wonderfully by the owner who was incredibly generous to us and showed so much kindness in sending us gifts of Cadbury cow’s milk, crisps and even English tea bags from Buckingham Palace for we felt at home.

“The chef and his team even gave us cooking lessons in his kitchen.

“We could not have been treated better and in light of all the hardships people go through in our home, we feel very humbled that our experience, which could have been so terrible, was so positive because of the compassion. and the attention of the people around us. “



Udaipur

Kate says the lockdown restrictions were lifted last week, but it has resulted in “chaos.”

She said: “People were allowed to visit the local markets for food, but the result was chaos, the place was packed with people, so the lockdown was fully tightened the next day. So now the market has you. arrives via a cart.

“Our hotel is located by a lake. Udaipur is known as the city of lakes, so we have amazing views.

“It’s strange to see him lifeless outside of the frontline workers, including men with sacks of grain to feed the birds in the morning and evening and ladies struggling on the bridge to town carrying bags of greenery for the cows.

Normally the city is a cacophony of car horns, cows, people selling their wares, the slapping of chatty women bringing their laundry to the river steps, temple bells ringing, singing and drumming, laughter and the motorcycles roar. “

Kate and her friends have flown with Emirates Airlines and are now awaiting repatriation flights.

She added: “Emirates Airlines have contacted us only to tell us that flights have been suspended and there is no sign that they are restarting yet.

“We are expecting a repatriation flight which we are planning in about a week. Fortunately we are all in good health, but we have heard terrible stories of people desperate to return home due to health issues or arrangements to bring them back. at home have fallen short.

“As in any time of crisis, information is needed, even if it is scarce. Information has gradually improved, but it seems that people are only getting 24 hours’ notice for their flight and only 12 hours for the flight. transportation to the airport which must be paid for before you can get a ticket.

“Flights for people like us in small towns have the problem that the local airport is not big enough for international flights and crossing state borders has been a problem for some although the UK government has worked to overcome this problem with the help of the Indian government. “

Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, Minister of State for South Asia and the Commonwealth, said: “We have already helped over 6,500 people return from India since the start of our charter flight program, and 7,000 more are expected to return in the coming weeks.

“The 14 new flights announced today bring the total number of UK government charter flights departing from India to 52.

“We continue to work around the clock to ensure that all British travelers to India are supported to return to the UK if they wish.”

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