A COUPLE from East Lancashire have been trapped in the Philippines for two weeks due to the coronavirus outbreak, which has also cost them nearly £1,500 in cancelled flights.

Jonathan Bolt, from Burnley, and Gemma Greenwood, from Brierfield, had intended to visit the south-east Asian country on holiday but were horrified when they were told during their transit flight that the country was to be place in lockdown in an effort to contain the virus.

The couple were sent to the city of Angeles for two days and from there to the Philippine province of Cebu, where they are two of over 200 British nationals who are trapped.

Mr Bolt said: “It is not just the Philippines this has happened, it’s in many other countries and there seems to be very little done to help these people get back home and the Government needs to be doing more to help.

“We understand everyone must be worked off their feet but it feels like we’ve been abandoned.

“We understand these are difficult and trying times but we are getting very little back in terms of advice or prospects for the coming days or weeks.”

The couple have requested help from the British embassy but have found little to be forthcoming, with other national embassies, such as those of Germany and the Netherlands being more useful.

Instead, the British embassy has been directing them to Manila, however this will simply lead to more problems for the pair.

Mr Bolt said: “Once in Manila there are no commercial flights back to the UK, unless you’re willing to pay upwards of another £2,000 each, and once you’re stuck in Manila because you can’t afford these flights, there are no taxis anywhere and only a select few hotels that still take foreigners, which are extremely expensive to stay at.”

The cost of the couple's cancelled flights has now risen to nearly £1,500 and they say they are aware of other holidaymakers who have spent up to as much as £6,000 on cancelled flights.

Mr Bolt says he is worried Cebu is due to go into further lockdown measures and that stranded holidaymakers will struggle to find accommodation and essential supplies for much longer.

Germany, France, Canada, the Czech Republic and Denmark have all managed to organise flights to bring their nationals back home, and Mr Bolt is hoping the UK can do the same.

He said: “We know it’s difficult back home due to the unprecedented nature of the situation we all find ourselves in. But we need help."