Coronavirus: Kingston couple in Spain may be airlifted home, another Kingstonian trapped in Ecuador

Editor’s note: This story is an update to an earlier story already published. 

An elderly Kingston couple who are stuck in Spain may have a flight home, but it comes with conditions.

“We first of all had some very, very good news,” said 77-year old Suki Falkner, via a Skype interview from her hotel room in Granada, Spain.

The good news, Falkner says, is that herself and her husband, 86-year old Fred Colwell, are to be evacuated by air ambulance, arranged by their insurance company Alliance on Saturday.

“But as a condition of flying on the air ambulance, could we present a negative coronavirus test for both of us,” Falkner said, explaining the conditions.

Falkner said they tried at the hospital where she recently had her hip surgery, but health officials there refused because the couple show no signs or symptoms of COVID-19.

“So we couldn’t get that.”

In the meantime, the couple’s insurance company is negotiating with the Canadian government to waive the required COVID-19 test.

“Yesterday I was feeling desperate. Today I am very frightened,”  Falkner said.

Meanwhile, Global News has learned of another stranded Kingston, Ont. woman — this time, in Ecuador.

“I wish people would get on it and save us,” said Tanya Dooley. “We are Canadians just like you guys.

“We just all want to come home.”

Dooley was part of an expedition group of 30 Canadians to the Galápagos Islands in Ecuador on March 13, when, two days into the trip, the country was locked down and borders began to close.

“We had flights booked through Quito, Bogota, Washington and then on to Toronto,” Dooley explained, “and that was all cancelled because they started shutting the airports.”

Dooley says she is frustrated and cannot seem to get clear answers from Canadian officials, or even speak to them directly.

“I left a message for the Embassy in Ottawa a couple of days ago,” Dooley said. “I left a voicemail with my phone number. Never heard back.

“I did get an email from the Consulate here in Ecuador and they are working on flights to get us out with Air Canada, but nothing is confirmed at the moment.”

Global News reached out to Global Affairs Canada on behalf of Suki Falkner and Fred Colwell, but we have still not received a response.

“You know, I don’t want to be stuck in Ecuador,” said Dooley, “the people here are very nice.

“But I want to go home. We all want to go home.”

Global Affairs has said previously that in some instances, Canadians stranded abroad may not be able to return home for an indeterminate period of time.

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