NEARLY three weeks ago Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab announced a £75 million package to bring back British nationals stranded overseas.

While the programme allowed thousands of UK citizens to board repatriation flights, a Salisbury backpacker remains stuck in the Peruvian city of Cusco and has no idea when he will be able to fly home.

The Foreign Office says it will "continue to do all we can to support them" but, as of today, there are "no concrete plans" to get them home.

Chris Ramsay, 29, has now been in quarantine for 32 days as a result of a strict lockdown imposed by the Peruvian authorities after the first coronavirus cases in the country were confirmed.

At the time his story was reported in the Journal on March 27, Chris was staying in a hostel where two guests contracted Covid-19 and had been told he could be unable to leave for up to three months.

As repatriation flights were due to be arranged imminently, his concern, which later materialised, was that he would not be able to board any of them.

Salisbury Journal:

Unable to leave the hostel, while flights from Lima to London were taking off, the former Jaguar Land Rover engineer and six other British guests were in talks about a potential move to a different hotel with the British embassy.

He said: "Initially we said no because we'd go from £10 a night to $120 for one room and considering we didn't know how long we'd be there for we refused.

"But the embassy said they were going to pay so we agreed on that basis."

As far as Chris is aware, the idea behind the move was to facilitate the repatriation process, but two days after checking in, the embassy allegedly refused to keep funding their stay.

On Wednesday, days after all guests took an anti-body test, some of which came back positive, British nationals were told that a military flight was going to take them to Lima to allow them to catch a connecting flight to London.

However, after a U-turn from Peruvian officials, the group were refused to board the plane twice.

Chris said: "They refused to let us on and took off without us. The embassy got [the plane] back to Cusco and it took off a second time without us while we were all queuing up to get on a bus to the airport.

"We were being told that we were going home, then we weren't going home, then we were and then we weren't... emotionally it was an absolute ringer."

And after missing their chance to get out of Cusco, the group said they received a call informing them that some embassy representatives were about to fly back to the UK.

"They abandoned us in this hotel lobby that we could not leave for fear of being arrested, with no food or water and nothing booked for the night," said Chris.

"Fortunately the Dutch embassy took pity on us and allowed us move to the hotel they moved their citizens to.

"In five minutes they did more for us than the British ever did in 32 days."

In five days, the Peruvian government will stop all repatriation flights, meaning Chris might have no choice but to wait until commercial operations resume.

"I don't see how I'm getting out of here and given how things have gone in the past 32 days I don't really have much faith that the embassy are going to pull this out of the bag.

"I do think they're trying their best but we've been in regular contact with them and they keep saying they're exploring all options but there are still no concrete plans.

"I think the situation has just not been handled very well from the start."

Salisbury MP John Glen said he's "in daily contact" with Chris and his family and that he has been speaking with Foreign Office ministers to "get Chris home as quickly as possible in these extremely difficult circumstances".

He added: "Consular staff remain in Peru and will continue to be there throughout."

A spokesperson from the Foreign Office said: "We can confirm that, unfortunately, a dozen passengers were refused access to the military flight from Cusco to Lima that was due to join up with the flight to London. The Peruvian authorities denied them boarding following health screening.

"We recognise this is deeply disappointing for these passengers and a worrying time. We will continue to do all we can to support them and other British nationals who remain in Peru."