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Coronavirus couple trapped in India moved to private hospital

PUBLISHED: 19:02 30 March 2020 | UPDATED: 08:50 31 March 2020

Steven Hancock, left, and partner Ann Williams from Sudbury have contracted coronavirus and are unable to leave India. Picture: STEVEN HANCOCK/ANN WILLIAMS

Steven Hancock, left, and partner Ann Williams from Sudbury have contracted coronavirus and are unable to leave India. Picture: STEVEN HANCOCK/ANN WILLIAMS

STEVEN HANCOCK/ANN WILLIAMS

A Sudbury couple trapped in India and suffering from coronavirus have been moved from the squalid conditions of a public hospital.

Steven Hancock, left, and partner Ann Williams from Sudbury have now been moved out of an Indian hospital's squalid conditions. Picture: STEVEN HANCOCK/ANN WILLIAMSSteven Hancock, left, and partner Ann Williams from Sudbury have now been moved out of an Indian hospital's squalid conditions. Picture: STEVEN HANCOCK/ANN WILLIAMS

Steven Hancock and Ann Williams are now being treated in a private hospital in Kerala where they are waiting for the all clear to travel home.

The Indian authorities will not allow them to fly until they no longer test positive for the virus, but Mr Hancock’s daughter Evie said it was some comfort to know they were being treated somewhere better than the Government Medical College at Kalamessary, Kochi, where they were before.

Evie said the family just wanted them home as soon as possible but it was a relief to know they were being treated in better conditions.

She said: “Them both testing positive was not what we wanted so they have got to preserve their health as best as they can

Dirty conditions at the Government Medical College, Kalamessary, Kochi, where Sudbury couple Steven Hancock and Ann Williams were quarantined. Picture: CONTRIBUTEDDirty conditions at the Government Medical College, Kalamessary, Kochi, where Sudbury couple Steven Hancock and Ann Williams were quarantined. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

“They’ve been through so much in the last few days. It’s a massive relief just to know that they are getting food and that they have somewhere proper where they can rest.”

Mr Hancock, aged 60, and Ms Williams, aged 61, were among a 19-strong party to fly out to Kerala on March 6 booked through Mercury Holidays.

After just a handful of days one of the party fell ill with pneumonia symptoms and was tested for the COVID-19 virus.

That result came back negative, with the group confined to their rooms while awaiting results.

The group was told it could fly home, and came agonisingly close to taking off, only for authorities to board the plane to tell them the passenger did in fact have the virus.

Between March 15 and 20 the entire party was quarantined in a hotel where they were eventually all tested, five of them coming back positive – including Mr Hancock.

Those five were then transferred to the Government Medical College hospital in Kalamessary, Kochi, where the couple endured squalid conditions.

They included no bedding, with only a paper sheet on the bed, blood-stained walls, dirty rooms and little food.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has said it is in discussions with the Indian authorities over the group.

The government has also now announced it would be committing £75 million to help Britons around the world stranded abroad by chartering rescue flights when there are no other routes available.

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