Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Nigerians stranded at airport to return home soon

Three Nigerian travellers stuck at Suvarnabhumi airport for nearly three months due to country lockdowns brought about by Covid-19 are expected to return home in about two weeks.

"They will fly back to their country as soon as the aviation ban is lifted," Immigration Bureau chief Sompong Chingduang said on Tuesday.

They have been in the departure area, receiving food and drink from airport security officers and airline staff, since late March.

Immigration cannot allow them entry because they do not have visas, Pol Lt Gen Sompong said.

They were waiting for connecting flights to Myanmar and Laos when the governments of both countries suddenly imposed travel restrictions to contain the spread of Covid-19, he said.

The airlines they travelled with -- Emirates and Etihad -- also halted services, preventing them from returning home, he said.

But while Covid-19 affected many air passengers and millions of people worldwide, "the three have not caught the disease," Pol Lt Gen Sompong said after they tested negative for the virus.

Though they want to continue their journeys -- two to Laos and the other to Myanmar, officials, who have contacted the Nigerian embassy in Bangkok for help, agree it would be better to send them home.

They are scheduled to fly on Emirates on June 4 when the United Arab Emirates resumes international flights, Suvarnabhumi Airport's public relations department said.

Their ordeal caught the interest of the social media community when a Thai Airways International employee posted on her Facebook how she and her friends helped the three.

They have no problems eating as they have been given meal boxes everyday.

"But when I asked whether they needed more help, they said just wanted a shower and a change of clothes," wrote Praphaporn Puengphak.

Bangkok Post

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