The governing administration has warned British travellers stranded overseas that the £75m airlift to repatriate Uk citizens “will not be quick or easy”.
As coronavirus lockdowns extend all over the world, large teams of British travellers are positioned in South Africa, Australasia, India and other Asian nations around the world.
The repatriation procedure was declared at the day by day 10 Downing Avenue briefing on Monday by the foreign secretary, Dominic Raab. He said: “An unprecedented amount of British travellers are attempting to get property.”
But ministers say they do not know how quite a few United kingdom citizens are overseas – nor when the airlift will start out or which destinations it will provide.
Talking on the BBC Radio 4’s Currently programme on Tuesday early morning, the transport secretary, Grant Shapps stated: “This is not likely to be speedy or uncomplicated.
“Our rescue will be bigger than the German one particular, which I imagine is €50m [£45m]. This is a £75 million rescue, so it’s on scale, and essentially we almost certainly experienced a ton a lot more individuals abroad in the first position.
“The scale of it is tremendous. I dealt with the Thomas Cook dinner repatriation, which was the largest at the time. This a person is even greater simply just since it’s not a solitary airline and we really do not know the place everybody is.”
Questioned if the United kingdom govt had a obligation to convey every person home who wished to be repatriated, Mr Shapps said: “I do take that there is a duty on us to help British citizens overseas. We will not know every circumstance and exactly where people today are.
“It’s a a lot much more intricate and much more global affair and it will get time and some patience.”
Early on in the coronavirus crisis, two repatriation flights were being organised from Wuhan – the Chinese metropolis at the centre of the outbreak – and just one from Tokyo, carrying 43 travellers from the stricken cruise ship, Diamond Princess.
Due to the fact then, the only coordinated rescue effort has been to Peru, where an estimated 1,000 United kingdom travellers have been brought back in a sequence of four British Airways flights.
An additional took location at the weekend from Accra in Ghana.
In addition, the cruise line Fred Olsen chartered 3 British Airways planes to fly from Havana to Heathrow just after Cuba allowed Braemar to dock, next other ports’ refusals to accept the ship.