BANGKOK (Reuters) – Brazilian nationals Julio de Oliveira and his wife Thamyres only wanted to enjoy a few days on a Thai beach last month, but the coronavirus outbreak turned their holiday upside down.
Just days after they arrived, the Thai government on March 24 announced a state of emergency. Their return flights got cancelled and, with beach parties also called off, the couple found themselves stuck in a paradise they could not enjoy.
But when they learned the Brazilian embassy in Bangkok had chartered a flight for some 380 Brazilians stranded in Southeast Asia by the coronavirus outbreak, the couple travelled 13 hours by road from the seaside resort town of Krabi to Bangkok.
“We want to go back. It was a very long trip just to go to the beach,” Oliveira, wearing the recognizable yellow jersey of the national soccer team, told Reuters on Tuesday at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport.
Some 190 nationals from the South American country, including the young couple, later boarded a Garuda Indonesia flight on Tuesday night bound for Brazil’s São Paulo.
Prior to Bangkok, the flight had already picked up 46 Brazilian nationals from its first stop in Hanoi earlier on Tuesday, Brazil’s ambassador to Vietnam, Marco Brandão, told Reuters.
After Bangkok, it would pick up more passengers in Jakarta, Indonesia’s largest city, before carrying them all home.
(Reporting by Jorge Silva in Bangkok; Additional reporting by Kham Nguyen in Hanoi; Writing by Patpicha Tanakasempipat; Editing by Gareth Jones)