Journalistic reports reported the complaints of hundreds of foreign tourists who were stranded in different cities of the country, such as Lima, Cusco and Tarapoto, after the closure of borders and the suspension of all national and international flights and land transport, as a prevention against the advance of the coronavirus.
The visitors only had 24 hours to return to their countries of origin, after the Peruvian government’s decision to close the borders for 15 days was communicated. The announcement was made last Sunday and the restriction went into effect on Monday at 11:59 p.m.
Those affected are Mexicans, Spaniards, Argentines, Chileans, Colombians, Ecuadorians, among other different nationals, who are demanding that Peruvian authorities and their respective embassies facilitate their return trip as soon as possible.
Foreign Minister Gustavo Meza-Cuadra said he is in contact with his colleagues in the region and the consuls of various countries to also discuss the issue of foreign citizens who have been stranded in Peru.
Foreign tourists crowded the Alejandro Velasco Astete airport in Cusco in search of tickets to return to Lima and then to their countries of origin. Visitors are desperate as they claim that airlines have cancelled their scheduled flights without notice.
Through the social network Twitter, a group of Mexicans who are mainly in Lima and Cusco, asked for help from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (SRE) to be able to return, since they denounced that the Mexican Embassy in Lima has not responded to their situation.
In different videos, travelers point out that in addition to the spontaneous cancellation of flights, they also have nowhere to stay because hotels are also closing due to the pandemic.
An Argentine tourist who is stranded in Cusco said that about 133 citizens of her country are unable to travel because of the flight cancellations. She said they can’t even move around in the Imperial City, except to buy supplies or go to a pharmacy.
“There are many Argentines who have lost their lodgings, because the doors in their hotels have been closed to them. We have no response from the Foreign Ministry. The consul in Peru told us to stay put and we have to respect that. It is quite desperate because, besides, we were told that we have to bear the expenses ourselves. We are not getting a response, we feel somehow imprisoned,” he said.
Another group of 26 Basque tourists remain trapped in Cusco and do not know how or when they will be able to return to Spanish territory. They left Bizkaia on March 8, a date when there were no restrictions due to the coronavirus, and their return was scheduled for March 20, but the closure of the borders prevents them from taking a flight in Lima to return home.
After the declaration of an emergency in the country due to the coronavirus, dozens of national and foreign tourists crowded the offices of the airlines in Tarapoto (San Martin) looking for places to return to Lima.
A Chilean tourist identified as Soledad Carvajal Tapia, 26 years old, between tears said she had a ticket to return to Lima on Wednesday and continue her trip to Santiago de Chile, however, made several calls to her embassy and no one responds so far.
Outside the airport in Tarapoto, dozens of foreign tourists stayed for several hours trying to get tickets to continue their return to their countries of origin. This Tuesday there were 10 flights to Lima. Stranded passengers were also observed at the land terminals.