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Russian mother and 9 year old son left stranded at KL airport after being turned away from Thailand

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Russian mother and 9 year old son left stranded at KL airport after being turned away from Thailand

Poppy McPherson

 

REUTERS.jpg

Stranded tourists, Valerie and her son Kyri rest at the transit area of Kuala Lumpur International Airport Terminal 2, after they were returned from Thailand due to new health certificate requirements amid coronavirus disease (COVID-19) epidemic, in Sepang, Selangor State, Malaysia March 24, 2020. Picture taken March 24, 2020. Valerie Azure/Handout via REUTERS

 

BANGKOK (Reuters) - Russian hostel manager Valerie Azure has spent the past three nights sleeping on the floor of a Malaysian airport along with her young son, after Southeast Asian nations sealed borders and cancelled flights in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

 

Azure, 31, said more than a dozen people were stranded with her in the international airport in Kuala Lumpur, among hundreds marooned across the globe, according to media reports, as the virus plays havoc with travel plans.

 

After several weeks volunteering in a community centre for Afghan refugees in Malaysia, Azure said she and her nine-year-old son boarded an AirAsia flight for Thailand on Monday but were sent back after officials asked for blood tests proving they were free of the virus.

 

Malaysia has banned foreigners from entering since March 18.

 

“They said ‘you’re going to have to stay here’. We thought maybe they are not being serious, in the beginning,” Azure told Reuters via WhatsApp.

Azure said people from Vietnam, Pakistan, and the Philippines were stranded alongside her. Airline staff bring them three meals a day of rice or noodles, and some water. They sleep on makeshift beds fashioned from cardboard and fabric.

 

Azure, who has lived in Thailand for the past seven years and runs a hostel on Koh Tao island, said she cannot afford to buy a $3,000 ticket to Russia, where she has no friends or family.

 

They were planning to stay until the end of Malaysia’s ban on foreign entries, on March 31, but it has since been extended until April 14. The Russian embassy told her they may be taken to an immigration detention centre, she said.

 

TAKEN CARE OF

A Malaysian airport spokeswoman said AirAsia had informed them Azure was working with her embassy to find a solution.

 

“Please be rest assured that AirAsia is taking good care of their welfare and providing them sufficient meals during this difficult period,” she said.

An AirAsia spokesperson said the safety and well being of guests and staff was its priority, but recommended any stranded travelers contact their embassies as the matter was “outside the airline’s control”.

 

“AirAsia remains fully compliant with all travel bans and restrictions in place resulting from the COVID-19 outbreak. We continue to do everything possible to assist every guest affected by disruption during this unprecedented situation,” the spokesperson said in an emailed statement.

 

Immigration department director-general Khairul Dzaimee Daud said in a text message they were looking into the case.

 

Azure said her son had been despondent since security officials confiscated his only toy, a ball.

 

“They said ‘This is an airport and not a playground’. It was his only entertainment… Now he’s just sitting there, I’m trying to keep him busy, to play games.”

 

She worries about them falling sick in the airport.

 

“I don’t know how safe it is… All we have left is just to hope and pray.”

 

(Reporting by Poppy McPherson. Additional reporting by Rozanna Latiff; Editing by Gareth Jones and Alex Richardson)

 

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-- © Copyright Reuters 2020-03-27
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1 hour ago, brewsterbudgen said:

This happened 3 days ago and was widely reported.  It would be nice to have an update on what has happened since then!  Are they still at KL airport?

 

If you bothered to read even the opening sentence of the report, you would see that it is indeed an update on the story..

I won't tell you any more and spoil a good read :)

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40 minutes ago, xvend said:

Since she should have a work permit with Social insurance

She should be let into Thailand.... no?

IF she has a health certificate and a valid work permit, they should. I guess she was lacking one or the other (or both).

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6 minutes ago, tomazbodner said:

IF she has a health certificate and a valid work permit, they should. I guess she was lacking one or the other (or both).

 

According to the original story, which was before the requirement for a work permit, she had the necessary medical certificate and insurance...

Still turned around at immigration along with quite a few others !!

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10 minutes ago, cornishcarlos said:

 

According to the original story, which was before the requirement for a work permit, she had the necessary medical certificate and insurance...

Still turned around at immigration along with quite a few others !!

That would show what she's missing...

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Seven years working in Thailand without a WP?

 

Not to be too judgmental but I do feel sorry for the kid.

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1 hour ago, xvend said:

Since she should have a work permit with Social insurance

She should be let into Thailand.... no?

Foreign staff in hostels here don’t tend to be legitimate employees.

 

living like a gypsy with a young kid, and no back up plan, no emergency fund is selfish and irresponsible. 

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A lot of guessing going on here about work permits ect,one would think if she were a hostel manager she would have one,regardless of that it states she was turned away because of lack of a health certificate.

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5 hours ago, brewsterbudgen said:

This happened 3 days ago and was widely reported.  It would be nice to have an update on what has happened since then!  Are they still at KL airport?

Reminds me of Tom Hanks in Terminal

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5 hours ago, cornishcarlos said:

What a sad state of affairs and a sad reflection on the bureaucracy of both countries involved...

Where is the compassion in these crazy times ??

 

Not just those countries, those countries are merely aping the social distancing and isolation policies of other countries.

 

This is yet another example of the terrible cost of wrong-headed isolation policies which are now much too late and totally ineffective.

 

Real people suffer because of these stupid policies.

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"Azure said her son had been despondent since security officials confiscated his only toy, a ball.

 

“They said ‘This is an airport and not a playground’. It was his only entertainment… Now he’s just sitting there, I’m trying to keep him busy, to play games.”....

 

Well done, that boy and mother are truly socially isolated and socially distanced.

 

What a story. Makes you lose faith in humanity really.

 

Smh.

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4 hours ago, NanLaew said:

Seven years working in Thailand without a WP?

 

Not to be too judgmental but I do feel sorry for the kid.

" after they were returned from Thailand due to new health certificate requirements amid coronavirus disease (COVID-19) epidemic"

I seems we do not know about the WP? 

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