Home, sweet home: Shrewsbury care worker returns from Tunisia after Covid-19 holiday hell

Shropshire's Liz Hazlewood is finally home after being stranded in Tunisia due to flights being grounded over Covid-19.

Liz Hazlewood from Shrewsbury
Liz Hazlewood from Shrewsbury

The 52-year-old from Meole Brace, Shrewsbury, went for a relaxing trip to Chott Merium, just north of Sousse, in early March, but the virus outbreak meant her dream holiday quickly turned into a nightmare.

All commercial flights were grounded so Liz, who was later holed up in a Tunis hotel, spent the next 11 days frantically appealing for help from the embassy and kind-hearted members of the public as her money was running out.

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Liz ended up having to spend more than £1,100 to get home, but finally made it back this week after foreign secretary Dominic Raab announced a £75 million rescue package to repatriate stranded Brits abroad.

She said: “When the taxi driver arrived in Meole Brace I shouted ‘I am home!’ I had the biggest smile ever.

“I heard about the flight the night before, I cried like a baby. I felt a huge sense of relief but also so stressed because of trying to find the money to pay for everything. I couldn’t stop shaking while trying to pay for it in case the payment did not go through.

“Everything was just so stressful. You are stranded in a strange country, no information coming through and not knowing when or even if you can return to the UK. You are told by the hotel that you should not go out, even when you need essential items. I was told to go to the hotel in Tunis, that just cost me £800 for the 10-to-11 days. A lot of that was my rent money for my home in Shrewsbury.”

Liz had enjoyed the first week of the holiday, but then a curfew was put in place before a full lockdown.

Now Liz is looking forward to returning to work and seeing all her colleagues.

“I can’t wait,” she said. “I have missed everyone so much.

“My work is my lifeline, I can honestly say I look forward to going to work.

“If I could not return to work, I would be completely lost, I love taking care of people.”

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