Woman from Aylesbury Vale in struggle to get home from Cambodia amid coronavirus chaos

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A woman from Charndon has been in a race against time this week to get back home to the UK from Cambodia before the global coronavirus crisis further restricted travel.

Jessica Fox, 22, has been travelling around Europe and Asia for approximately a year with her boyfriend, often doing volunteer work at various animal sanctuaries, and the couple weren't intending on returning to the UK until mid-May before the coronavirus pandemic struck.

It was upon landing in Cambodia from Thailand just over a week ago that Jessica began to realise the end of the road may have arrived.

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Jessica explained to The Bucks Herald: “We started to worry about it when we got to Cambodia. Obviously we were aware of it affecting the world but until then it hadn't affected our travel plans, but as soon as we arrived in Cambodia it started to get a little worrying what with countries putting up restrictions, closing their borders, etc.”

Jessica Fox, from Charndon, in Cambodia this weekJessica Fox, from Charndon, in Cambodia this week
Jessica Fox, from Charndon, in Cambodia this week | jpimedia

As Jessica and her boyfriend began to cancel their original plans and seek passage home, things started to escalate for the worse.

Firstly, the flight they initially booked to bring them home was cancelled by the airline due to the pandemic, and then they were told they may need a medical certificate from the hospital in order to travel.

Jessica told us: “We were told we'd need a medical certificate to travel, so we went to the hospital and there was already lots of people there saying they'd been queuing since 5am. There was a big group, between 50 and 100, but they only tested 30 people. The rest were turned away and told to come back the next day.”

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Though they did return the next day and were faced with a similar lengthy wait, in the end the rules were relaxed and they were informed while queuing at the hospital that they would in fact only need a 'fit to fly' certificate to board a flight, which was obtainable fairly quickly from a nearby Medicare centre.

Queue of people seeking medical certificates at the hospital in CambodiaQueue of people seeking medical certificates at the hospital in Cambodia
Queue of people seeking medical certificates at the hospital in Cambodia | jpimedia

Jessica and her boyfriend were eventually able to book a new flight, which is due to leave on 27 March.

Their woes were not quite over however, as they then found out that the hostel they were staying in was closing as a safety precaution due to coronavirus, but fortunately they managed to find alternative accommodation.

Jessica told us that while she's happy to come home and “hunker down until it's all over,” she does hope to complete her travels before embarking on her ambition of a career working with animals.

"I'm hoping to join the RSPCA when I come back because I've always had a love for animals and it's my dream job to be an RSPCA inspector," she said.