A tourist is desperate to be rescued after spending 110 days living in an airport in the Philippines due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Roman Trofimov, who lives in Estonia, landed in Manila airport from Bangkok on March 20, but was denied access to the country as entry visas were no longer being issued for arrivals. He says his passport was then taken from him before he reached immigration.
The airline he had travelled with, AirAsia, was then unable to return him to Thailand, and he was told he would have to wait for Enhanced Community Quarantine to be over until he is allowed to fly. The lockdown, which restricts all travel for anyone not a diplomat, medical or humanitarian worker, was brought in by the Philippine goverment on March 16.
Mr Trofimov, who says he is disabled, likened his situation to being a prisoner in the airport. He has been sleeping in an airport departures hotel room and surviving on food and snacks donated by staff.
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The tourist has repeatedly asked his embassy for help but they were unable to organise a repatriation flight.
He said: ‘My health is getting worse because of malnutrition, lack of sun, and fresh air. I have no other choice, but to go public please share with news agencies.’
Mr Trofimov had an onward flight to Cebu, in the Philippines, booked for the same day he landed in Manila and a return flight to Bangkok for April 2. Both were cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Metro Manila was shifted to a lower level General Community Quarantine in June, but despite the more relaxed status, most flights have still not been allowed to resume, including those to Estonia.
Mr Trofimov told Estonian broadcaster ERR that he also isn’t allowed to fly out of the Philippines to a new country as he was denied entry, and can only be ‘taken back by the airline’ which brought him to Manila.
He said: ‘They took my passport and will give it back only when I fly to Estonia. But they don’t fly to Estonia, they don’t fly anywhere currently. I am told to wait all the time until flights are restarted.
‘I was offered an opportunity via Turkish Airlines, but they also don’t fly currently. So I am waiting, the departure date has been delayed four times now. They are extending the emergency situation here, the country is still closed.’
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