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British Nationals Abroad: Coronavirus

Foreign and Commonwealth Office written question – answered on 22nd May 2020.

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Photo of Preet Kaur Gill Preet Kaur Gill Shadow Secretary of State for International Development

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what estimate he has made of the number of British nationals stranded in (a) Ghana, (b) India and (c) Jamaica as a result of the covid-19 pandemic.

Photo of Nigel Adams Nigel Adams Minister of State (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) (Joint with the Department for International Development)

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is working around the clock, through our Posts overseas and in London, to make sure all British people who need help are receiving the support and information they need. We have brought home over 31,700 people on 151 flights organised by the Foreign Office from 27 countries and territories. As at 15 May, these arrivals include (a) over 600 British nationals from Ghana on 29 March, 4 April and 8 April, (b) over 14,500 British nationals from India on 62 flights since 8 April and (c) over 100 British nationals from Jamaica on 8 May. It is difficult to be precise on the numbers of British travellers who still wish to return home because there have been instances of multiple registrations by the same individual, people not reporting their return to the UK via other means, and long term residents registering for flights even though they were not eligible.

We are aware that there are British travellers remaining in Ghana. There are currently no commercial options available to leave Ghana. The UK Government is working closely with airlines, the Ghanaian authorities and other governments to make sure options are available for British travellers in Ghana to return to the UK as soon as possible.

There are also extremely limited commercial options available to return to the UK from Jamaica. Our effort is focused on supporting their return as quickly and safely as possible. We are looking at all options to help those seeking to return to the UK and the British High Commission in Kingston is working hard to ensure that British nationals who remain in Jamaica are safe and getting the support they need.

India's land borders are closed and international flights are suspended until at least 17 May. There are currently no commercial options available to leave India. There is no guarantee that flights will begin straight away once the lockdown is lifted. We are advising those who have booked a flight with a commercial airline during May to prepare for the possibility that the flight will not operate.

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