Friday, May 7, 2021

Tourists stranded after Peru slams borders shut over virus worries

Foreigners visiting the country’s Inca ruins and Amazon rainforest were given little warning they should leave.

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Hundreds of foreigners are trapped in Peru after it sealed its borders on Monday in an attempt to stop the spread of Covid-19.

Foreign tourists who were visiting the country’s Inca ruins and Amazon rainforest were given little warning they should leave.

Equally, Peruvians abroad had no time to get home before the closures.

Peru’s defence ministry had announced it would completely shut down airports and border crossings on Sunday, prohibiting any future chartered flights from repatriating foreigners as the country attempts to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Health officials at the weekend confirmed more than 300 cases and five deaths in the Andean nation.

President Martin Vizcarra’s government later issued a waiver allowing chartered flights to fly home Peruvians stranded abroad, and to allow foreign governments to repatriate their citizens.

Argentina, Chile, Israel and Mexico all helped their citizens leave Peru. The UK government said it was talking with Peru to arrange flights to take out British nationals.

“It is a bit scary,” Alison Clay-Duboff, an American stuck in the Peruvian Amazon near the city of Iquitos, told the Wall Street Journal. “We’re just here in the jungle waiting and anticipating. We are trying to come up with ways to keep everybody occupied.”

Rich Levering of Philadelphia said he is trying to find his own way home. He has been organising other guests at his Lima hotel, while sharing information on WhatsApp and Facebook groups to discuss ways to get back to the US.

One Facebook group, called Americans Stuck in Peru, has over 3,300 members.

He said, “Everybody has their own little nugget of information and we’re using that to figure out how to get home.”

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