- Title: Foreignersâ€™ flight ban leaves British teacher in Poland separated from family
- Date: 14th March 2020
- Summary: PHOTOGRAPHS OF BABIES AND WIFE OF HOLMES
- Embargoed: 28th March 2020 20:34
- Keywords: British expat Poland border closure coronavirus suspension of flights
- Location: WARSAW, POLAND
- City: WARSAW, POLAND
- Country: Poland
- Reuters ID: LVA002C50XTMV
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Tom Holmes, a 34-year-old British primary school teacher living in Poland, had expected to welcome home his twin babies and wife in Warsaw on Monday (March 16) upon their return from a holiday in Britain.
Instead, on Saturday (March 14), he jumped on a bus to travel 570 km (355 miles) from Warsaw to Berlin, in hopes of catching a flight to London to meet up with his family, now stranded in Britain by coronavirus-related travel curbs.
Like many others across Europe, Holmes was caught unprepared as governments shut borders to contain the spread of the infection, forcing him to take drastic action.
Poland, which has reported 103 cases of coronavirus and three deaths, announced on Friday (March 13) it will ban foreigners from entering the country from Sunday (March 15) and impose a 14-day quarantine on its citizens returning home.
Those with a residence permit, like Holmes and his British wife, would also be allowed to enter, but no international inbound flights or trains would be allowed from 0000 CET on Sunday, except for some charter flights bringing Poles back from holidays.
That meant his wife could no longer fly to Poland alone with the twins, and his British mother-in-law would not be allowed in and would be unable to fly on Monday to accompany her daughter.
He may have a chance eventually, as the Polish government announced plans on Saturday to charter flights via the flag LOT carrier for those stranded abroad.
Flights will be scheduled initially from a handful of countries, including Britain, the United States and holiday destinations such as Cyprus. LOT will operate a sign-up procedure online.
(Production: Jaroslaw Gawlowski, Anna Dabrowska)
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