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Schools to close from Friday as UK sees sharp rise in cases and 104 deaths

Schools to close from Friday as UK sees sharp rise in cases and 104 deaths

Thousands of UK holidaymakers face a race against time to return home before countries around the world shut down due to the coronavirus. Travellers in Morocco accused airlines of leaving them stranded and demanding extortionate fees. Thomas Reilly, the British ambassador to Morocco, said “we are trying to get as many flights in as we

Thousands of UK holidaymakers face a race against time to return home before countries around the world shut down due to the coronavirus.

Travellers in Morocco accused airlines of leaving them stranded and demanding extortionate fees.

Thomas Reilly, the British ambassador to Morocco, said “we are trying to get as many flights in as we can” before the country’s airspace closes at midnight on Thursday.

In response to a holidaymaker who sent him a Twitter message complaining that Ryanair was charging £300 for a flight back to the UK, he replied: “Buy the tickets. Get out of the country. Claim on your insurance. Do not delay.”

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advised travellers in Spain to return home before March 24 as its government has ordered all hotels to close from that date.

Dave Cook, 36, from Edinburgh, was stranded in Japan after his KLM flight home on Friday was cancelled. He told said he felt “left in the dark” by his travel firm lastminute.com and had bought a new flight for more than £1,100.

“I’m a contractor so don’t get holiday pay, so I had to err on the side of caution in case we couldn’t get a flight for a while,” he said.

Mr Cook added that the British embassy told him, “We’re not doing flights for people. You have to speak with your airline or travel agent”.

Author Clare Josa, 46, of Sussex, is struggling to return to the UK from South Africa with her 12-year-old son. She said British Airways initially wanted £12,000 for them to switch to an earlier flight.

It later waived that fee, but there were no spare seats, forcing the pair to hope their flight on Friday is not among the many thousands being cancelled.



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