At the start of the Covid-19 outbreak, British National (Sam) was on a University placement in Calabria, Italy. Sam’s University have been using Securewest’s SPHERE services to Prepare, Safeguard and Respond for their students on overseas placement.
On 30th January the first COVID-19 cases were confirmed in Italy leading to the first lock-down on 21st February, with further restrictions on movement imposed on 9th March. On 10th March airlines started to cancel flights to and from Italy. Sam was due to return to UK on 16th March.
The University contacted Securewest 24/7 Global Response Centre to ask us for assistance on Thursday 12th March at 0800hrs. All public transport had been suspended, and our advice was to change Sam’s flights and to take the earliest possible flight before total lock down. The decision to evacuate Sam was authorised by University at 2053 hrs that evening. Working through the night our 24/7 Global Response Centre worked with the Universities Travel Management Company and insurance provider to re-arrange flights, and our pre-vetted ground services partner to provide transport to the airport in Bari.
Sam was collected from his residence by Securewest Ground Partner at 0645hrs the following morning, Friday 13th March, and driven to Bari International Airport where he was able to catch his flight back to the UK arriving safely at 1645hrs. Italy was placed under total lock down later that same day.
Throughout the case, Securewest coordinated with University Insurers, their dedicated Travel Management Company, and our local pre-vetted Ground Service Provider, keeping Sam and the University updated throughout. We actively monitored his movements during the process using the SPHERE App location and communication capabilities, providing support and re-assurance throughout.
Following Sam’s successful repatriation we conducted a full review of the services and procedures with the University to support their decision-making process and to update their procedures. This included making changes to the authorisation process which had led to a 12-hour delay over the decision to authorise the evacuation.