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Belfast civil servant Nadine McGurk stuck in Polish city amid coronavirus shutdown

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Nadine McGurk

Nadine McGurk

Nadine McGurk

A civil servant has told of her stress and anguish after being stranded in Poland as it announced a coronavirus shutdown.

Nadine McGurk (32), from west Belfast, had planned a trip to Krakow for her sister's 18th birthday and a friend's hen party. However, shortly after arriving in Poland on Friday she realised the rapidly escalating Covid-19 outbreak had caused flight cancellations and border closures across Europe.

She said: "I knew everything was up in the air but I'm a rational person and Krakow didn't have any cases.

"We landed in Krakow at about 10pm and all of a sudden I was getting messages about the government shutdown.

"I was calm and told myself we wouldn't be stranded here, they'd have planes to take us home, but when I spoke to staff at the airport they couldn't tell us anything and then I started to worry.

I've been in tears several times trying to get this all sorted and my sister is really upset, it's completely ruined her 18th birthday week and her first trip to Europe Nadine McGurk

"Another plane landed from England with the people on board being told everything would be okay, so I went to the hotel to phone the British and Irish embassies.

"Not long after we got there we were kicked out of the hotel and told we wouldn't be getting any money back due to the virus.

"It was extremely stressful and upsetting."

She added: "I've been in tears several times trying to get this all sorted and my sister is really upset, it's completely ruined her 18th birthday week and her first trip to Europe.

"I've paid to be put on standby for the next flight home and have also booked a coach to Berlin in case that gets cancelled. I've paid out £500 just for that and I've no guarantees that will get me home. It's really disappointing and upsetting."

As of midnight all Ryanair flights - including Buzz and Lauda - to and from Poland will be cancelled.

A Ryanair spokesman said this was "in response to the decision of the Polish government to 'lock down' the entire country to contain the spread of the Covid-19 virus".

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