AN AWARD-WINNING Irvine shop boss found himself stranded in Pakistan as the coronavirus crisis began to bite.

Imran Ali, who runs Bourtreehill Supermarket, attempted to get back after cutting short his holiday, but was unable to get a flight out of Islamabad.

Speaking from Pakistan, Imran said: “I’m stuck abroad on holiday and cannot get back. I’m in Pakistan but cut my holiday short by weeks and was meant to return on March 24 but Emirates stopped all flights and the government closed all airports.

“When we flew out there were no restrictions against flying and a lot of people were going holiday and returning. That changed quickly.

“I’m concerned as I have two young children. A boy who’s four and my daughter Amelia, who is only one-year-old and has a milk and egg allergy so we’re running low on supplies and cannot source her milk anywhere.

“I’ve also tried calling the High Commissioner office 12 times for advice and no reply just ringing out. Which is a joke considering the Prime Minister and Government website advise if you are stranded to contact them. It is worrying for my daughter as we have supplies for few weeks but not months. We do need some help or advice.”

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokesperson 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 £75 million has been made available for charter flights were commercial options are no longer available. We’ll continue working around the clock to bring people home.”


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