'We are running out of food': Leeds pensioners face weeks stranded in India during strict coronavirus lockdown

Four Leeds pensioners stranded in India say they are running out of food and vital medication during the country's strict coronavirus lockdown.

Friday, 27th March 2020, 12:52 pm
Updated Friday, 27th March 2020, 12:54 pm

Paul Lockwood, 66, and his wife Jean, 65, travelled to Goa at the end of February for a holiday with Jean's cousin and his wife, due to return home in April.

As the coronavirus pandemic spread to India, the family were not able to move their flights forward and all passenger flights have now been banned until at least April 15.

The State of Goa has implemented a total lockdown and curfew, meaning that anyone who travels outdoors may be stopped and detained by police.

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Paul Lockwood (right) with his wife Jean and family members Raymond and Lorraine Johnston

Jean suffers from a number of medical conditions including arthritis and high blood pressure. She relies on statins and an inhaler which she says she is unable to find near their Goa accommodation.

Paul, from Middleton, said: "We're not allowed out the building now and it's getting hard to get food. Half the shops are closed or have no stock left.

"We've got a bit of food in and we're trying to ration it off to last us, but we're running out. We're getting odds and ends from the landlord, but he can't get much either.

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"They don't have a delivery service like in England."

Paul said he was ordered inside by a security guard after walking a few metres to green space outside his accommodation.

He added: "It's astonishing, it was only me and my wife sat there trying to get some fresh air.

“We just don't know what is going to happen from one day to another. If we knew about all this, we would have gone home earlier.

"It's gone to madness in just a few days."

The couple have contacted the British High Comissioner to New Delhi but say they are unable to get a response, aside from general advice issued on the Government's website.

Paul believes hundreds of Brits could be in the same situation and has started a Facebook group to reach out to other people from West Yorkshire.

He said one man from Morley is stranded in India with no access to medication he needs for a heart problem.

The British High Commission in New Delhi has warned Brits in Goa to carry medical prescriptions or papers when searching for medication and be prepared to answer questions if stopped by the police.

A message on Gov.uk says: "If you need medicine, use Google to check on pharmacies closest to you and see if they will deliver. If not, you should walk (don’t drive) to the nearest pharmacy or ask for assistance from your accommodation provider.

"Carry any medical papers or prescriptions and be prepared to answer questions if stopped by the police - the majority of police will let you through if you have a legitimate reason for being out.

"If the same medication you’re on is not available, consult a local doctor for an Indian alternative or go to the nearest hospital. In a genuine medical emergency, call an ambulance."

More information and advice can be found at Gov.uk