A WOMAN from Malvern says the government are “not giving enough support” as she remains stranded in South America due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Eleanor Rees , 26, is currently on one of four populated islands in the Galapagos , which is just an hour and a half away from Ecuador by plane but Miss Rees explains that all flights have been cancelled until further notice.

“Once we were informed the Galápagos Islands could be closing down and Ecuador were shutting their borders, there was a rush of tourists booking all available flights off the island,” she said. “Ecuador closed its borders and grounded their planes so quickly that many had their flights cancelled with absolutely no notice, leaving hundreds of us stuck on the islands with nowhere to go.

“The only available flights tripled in price, with some paying £4500+, only to have them then cancelled. From what I’ve heard, no one is getting their money back either, we are only offered vouchers or the possibility of changing our flight to a later date.

“How can we change our flight when there are none running for the foreseeable future? I paid £1,100 to get a flight yesterday from the islands, with stopovers all the way to London but the first leg of the journey (getting off the island) was cancelled even though the rest went ahead without me.”

Miss Rees, a former Chase High School pupil works in the NHS and says she has been saving up the money to go away for a long time but with the virus gathering pace around the globe, now she just wants to come home.

“The coronavirus took over Asia before I was due to leave. I work in the NHS and have been saving and working hard for ages, so I still really wanted to get away,” she added.

“These islands have always been a dream destination because it’s a national park and marine reserve where the animals and the environment come above all else! It’s also on the equator, and the weather is beautiful. So I made a last minute decision to come, I debated on what to do due to the coronavirus outbreak but it hadn’t hit South America yet and I thought it would be fine but now I’m in this mess.”

Miss Rees explained she has been in contact with the British Embassy countless times but says that they have been less than helpful in their attempts to aid her return to the UK. “We have spoken to the embassy many times through many different people and all they have said is await notifications of travel advice” she continued.

“They say to contact the embassy in Ecuador (it’s closed!), they took our details and passport numbers but the issue is any flights going to the UK are via Ecuador and we can’t get there at the moment

“I booked another flight for Sunday out of desperation, as we are told KLM flights are going ahead. It’s to Amsterdam but I’d rather be trapped anywhere in Europe than be stuck here.

“The government aren’t giving us enough support at all, they told my friend who rang to just phone back next week. They took our details from someone else who rang up, but I haven’t heard anything yet.”

Miss Rees is due to fly from Ecuador to Amsterdam on Wednesday but there are no flights from the mainland into Europe until Wednesday and she is now worried she will miss her flight and maybe her last chance to get home before the country goes into lockdown itself.