Leicester

Coronavirus: 'Frustrated' UK paramedic stranded in New Zealand

Amy Stanton in New Zealand Image copyright Amy Stanton
Image caption Amy Stanton said her colleagues back home "are desperate and have put out recruitment adverts"

A paramedic who is among thousands of British people stranded in Australia and New Zealand wants the government to help them get home.

Amy Stanton said she feels "guilty and frustrated" being in New Zealand while her NHS colleagues in Leicester deal with the coronavirus pandemic.

She and others stranded in the country have urged the UK government to send chartered flights to take them home.

The government has said it is "working to support British travellers".

Ms Stanton said she booked her own flight home for 26 March but it was cancelled.

"I just feel really guilty and frustrated," she said.

"New Zealand aren't recognising my skills at the moment so I've not been able to help here, whereas in the UK, every one pair of hands is an extra pair of hands."

Image copyright LARA SULEYMAN
Image caption Lara Suleyman has heard from doctors who want to get home and cancer patients running low on medicine

Cases of Covid-19 are still in their hundreds in New Zealand but the country has already entered a month-long nationwide lockdown.

Another British woman, Lara Suleyman from Kent, has started an online database for British nationals who want to get home from New Zealand and Australia. It currently has more than 2,500 people on it.

She told the BBC she has heard from cancer patients running low on medicine, doctors who are keen to get back to the NHS, and tourists facing eviction from their hotel rooms.

Image copyright Amy Stanton
Image caption Amy Stanton wants to get home to Leicester to help her NHS colleagues

Ms Stanton, 29, previously worked for East Midlands Ambulance Service but has been in New Zealand on a career break for a year and a half.

"I've been in touch with colleagues back home and they are desperate and have put out recruitment adverts," she said.

"Even when you go on a career break you know you should be back doing your bit. When you train as a medical person you can't switch it off."

A Foreign Office spokesman said they were "working around the clock to support British travellers in this situation to allow them to come back to the UK".

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