Coronavirus: Stevenage pharmacist in Argentina lockdown desperate to help Lister Hospital colleagues
- Credit: Archant
A pharmacist on a year-long trip backpacking around South America is desperate to come home to support NHS staff on the frontline, but is stranded in Argentina after the government suspended all international flights.
Kerrianne Clinton, a pharmacist at Lister Hospital in Stevenage, took a sabbatical and set out to travel South America with her partner Jake Evans in January.
She said: “We were hoping to be here for around a year. I’ve always loved travelling, but never done a long backpacking trip before. This is something I’ve been looking forward to for so many years. I wanted to finish my masters in pharmacy and register as a pharmacist before travelling though, as I thought it would be an amazing reward for all the hard work.”
The couple travelled around Brazil and then headed to Argentina. Kerrianne said: “We were in Patagonia and had done some amazing treks and bike trips. We wanted to travel more of Argentina and our plans were to visit Mendoza next.”
But the coronavirus outbreak and the UK government’s call to arms to support NHS staff working on the frontline made Kerrianne and Jake decide to abandon their trip so Kerrianne could return home and support her colleagues at Lister.
Kerrianne, who lives in Stevenage, said: “We weren’t planning on coming home until the end of the year, but obviously due to the government’s recommendations to come home, the uncertainty here and my duty to come back and help, we feel cutting our trip short and coming home is the only option.”
Unfortunately, however, Argentina is now in lockdown in a bid to stop the spread of the virus.
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Kerrianne and Jake have flown to Buenos Aires - the only flight left that hadn’t been cancelled, Kerrianne explained. She said: “The Argentine government has suspended all international flights until at least April, so we’re stuck in Buenos Aires.
“I’m feeling very frustrated as I know hospitals back home really need help and I am ready to step in.”
An online petition asking the government to repatriate British citizens stranded in Argentina has more than 4,000 signatures.
Kerrianne said: “We need help from the government on getting home. We’ve exhausted all options, including the embassy.”
To sign the petition visit you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/stuck-in-argentina-bring-us-home-to-the-uk