Published: 28th March 2020
More than 350 Indian students stranded in COVID-hit UK with no sanitisers, masks or food
UK has more than 14,000 confirmed COVID19 cases. The British PM and Prince Charles too are affected by the virus
More than 350 Indian students are stranded in different parts of the UK, after the Indian government banned the landing of international flights in all of its airports. While the ban has now been extended until April 14, the students are in a fix, as many of them have had their visas expired and are in no position to self-isolate.
With more than 14,000 confirmed COVID-19 positive cases, 759 people in the UK have lost their lives. The British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Prince Charles were also tested positive, earlier this week. In this scenario, the students allege that they have no access to hand sanitisers, masks, gloves or a regular supply of ration.
"I had ordered a sanitiser online in the first week of March because none of the medical shops had it. But the website says that I will receive it only by the end of April," says Akhil Dharmaraj, a marine engineer from Kochi, who had gone to the UK to write a competitive examination. While the examination was originally supposed to happen on March 24, the students were told that it stays cancelled, on that very day. "There is no way for us to go home now. The supermarkets are out of dry food and there's no option for us to stock anything. There are no chances for us to get food regularly," he says.
Social distancing and self-isolation too seem like a privilege at this point in time, alleges Akhil. "A group of people live together in students' accommodations, where we use common kitchens and washrooms. We walk around without any protection and it is easy for us to get infected," he says. "Honestly, I am not scared of being infected, but int the current scenario, we students get the least priority to access medical help," he says.
Akhil has also created a crowdsourced Google Spread, with the details of all the Indian students who are stranded in the UK. The document has a total of 362 names until now. "Most of us have older parents and young children back home and we support our families. This lockdown leaves us with no income right now. This is another thing that we're worried about," he says.