A student from Shefford is currently confined to her youth hostel in Cuzco, Peru, after the Peruvian government ordered the borders to be closed at midnight Monday local time.
R aphaëlle Daigle, who obtained her professional orientation diploma in December, flew to South America on January 30, a welcome end of study trip before starting her master’s degree in May, two years which promise to be very busy.
However, the young woman does not know if she will return from travel in time, since the President of Peru, the country where she has been since Thursday, announced the closure of the borders this Monday evening. Due to poor information from the owner of the youth hostel where it is located, namely that the last flight from Peru had taken off on Sunday, his efforts to try to get home were much more underway late than it should have been.
“I only have about 24 hours to find a solution, when the possible flights to Montreal are full, or $ 2,000 minimum or have two stopovers in certain cities that have closed the borders,” she wrote in a message sent to the author of these lines. Her attempts to book a place on a plane to Canada have been unsuccessful so far, especially since the airport in the area where she is located, about twenty hours by car from the capital , Lima, is less frequented by international airlines.
“I finally managed to find a plane ticket Friday March 20, but we are in uncertainty. The information on the flights is not clear and we don’t know if we could take off, ”explains the Sheffordoise.
Unless there is a miracle, she could be confined to her hostel for the next two weeks. “We were told that it is impossible to go out, even to go to the grocery store, otherwise I cannot go back. Some hotels in Cuzco have closed completely, leaving travelers only 4 hours to find other accommodation, ”describes Ms. Daigle, who is currently with two Quebecers from the Quebec region and a Torontonian.
The quartet tried to contact the Canadian Embassy with difficulty. “The line is constantly cutting,” she says. One of the Quebeckers left a voice message at the Canadian Embassy in Lima this morning at 9:00 am. “They called him back to inform him that they have no official information for the future and to inform them if we run out of food that someone will come and see us.”
If Raphaëlle Daigle says that she is safe and has everything she needs, she is also a witness to the panic that is winning over the other residents of the hostel. “Since yesterday evening, everyone has been watching the screens trying to find a solution,” she says. People ran from the hostel towards the airport. Some cry, others drink to forget and others do yoga in the common room … ”
“My only concern is being away from Lima airport and not being able to walk the streets. We feel like a prisoner. I just want to leave the country, ”she drops.
The coronavirus crisis in South America is not yet of equal magnitude to that of Europe. Currently, 43 people have been infected in Peru.