A Northland couple stuck in Italy were ordered to move from a cruise ship to a hotel and are due to fly back home this weekend.
John and Pat Trotman have been in the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak since last week when their cruise ship, Costa Pacifica, was forced to call into Genoa in northern Italy after France and Spain closed their borders.
They are among 2359 passengers who left Argentina on a trans-Atlantic trip on March 2 but encountered trouble in Europe as Covid-19 forced the closure of ports and airports.
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John Trotman, 80, has multiple sclerosis and heart conditions, and he and his wife are both susceptible to flu-like viruses, especially in a high-risk country.
Their daughter, Jenni-Maree Trotman, said her family was devastated at the way her mum and dad were forced to get off the ship and move into a hotel closer to the airport.
"They were told to pack their bags and go to the ship's theatre area from where they and other passengers were forced to move to a hotel. We feel very let down.
"We are just devastated and so upset. Mum and dad are elderly and they shouldn't be made to put up with this. They've been put on a flight with a stopover in Doha as there's no other way to go because the borders are closed elsewhere," Trotman said.
She said the New Zealand Embassy sent them plane tickets that belonged to someone else.
The embassy sent the correct ticket to John Trotman after Jenni-Maree Trotman checked with it.
The Trotmans' flight was scheduled to depart Rome at 4pm yesterday (New Zealand) time and Jenni-Maree said her parents were expected to touch down in Auckland on Sunday morning.
Her family, she said, has no issues whether the couple were allowed to be self-isolated at home or at the quarantine centre in Whangaparoa. They just wanted them home.
Her brother, Antony Lydiard, said the remaining cruise passengers were made to queue in the cold outside the hotel on Wednesday evening.
"Mum had a wheelchair taken off her and another woman was pushed and mum, who's a nurse, wasn't allowed to help her. The woman was later taken away in an ambulance.
"They are at the end of their tether. I am sure the Italians are doing their best but it's not really good enough. They paid for a luxury cruise but are being herded like cattle and pushed and shoved around," Lydiard said.
His family hopes the couple are able to fly out of Doha before authorities there close the border.
Travelling New Zealanders are requested to register their details on SafeTravel, which allows Mfat to contact them with the most current advice.
There are more than 23,000 New Zealanders registered on SafeTravel, of whom more than 10,000 say they are staying overseas rather than travelling.