Hundreds of tourists returning to Ukraine break out of airport to escape coronavirus quarantine

Helen Coffey
Passengers ran out of the airport, keen to make their way home: Twitter/Telegram VGlagola

Hundreds of Ukrainian citizens returning home from Vietnam broke out of Kyiv airport to avoid mandatory quarantine.

The tourists, who had been flown home on a rescue flight organised by Ukraine’s government, were captured on video bursting through the airport doors with their suitcases, while personnel dressed in hazmat suits attempted without success to stem the flow.

Ukrainian authorities had advised that the 238 people repatriated from Ho Chi Minh City must be put in quarantine at airport hotels for two weeks upon their return, reports the Daily Mail.

Buses were waiting to take them to their temporary accommodation for the next 14 days, with a choice of basic facilities offered for free, or higher end lodgings for £550 per person.

However, most passengers appeared to flout the advisory and made their way home instead.

“Police and the National Guards were called in but they were not much of a help,” a witness told the Mail.

Oleksiy Sorokin shared video of the incident on Twitter, along with the caption: “In Covid-19 news. Ukrainian tourists evacuated FOR FREE from Vietnam escape from Kyiv Boryspil airport, after they were obligated to be quarantined for 14-days.

“Nearly 90,000 people were evacuated from all over since March 17, with those people walking the streets of Ukraine.”

Ukrainians from the flight are now instructed to self-isolate at home for 14 days.

At the time of writing, Ukraine has 549 confirmed cases of coronavirus and a death toll of 13.

It comes as the UK government announced it would organise a £75m airlift to repatriate UK citizens.

As coronavirus lockdowns extend around the world, large groups of British travellers remain in South Africa, Australasia, India and other Asian countries.

The foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, said: “An unprecedented number of British travellers are trying to get home.”

However, the government has warned British travellers stranded abroad that the operation “will not be quick or easy”.

Ministers say they do not know how many UK citizens are abroad – nor when the airlift will begin or which locations it will serve.

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