toll country border

A peaceful holiday quickly turned into a nightmare as holiday-goers from multiple countries found themselves stranded on foreign soil.

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread across the globe at a rapidly alarming rate, more and more countries have started adopting stricter measures by closing borders, cancelling flights and introducing nationwide lockdowns.

Stay at home poster
The government’s advice to people to ‘stay at home’ during the pandemic

Trapped in Paradise

In Peru, approximately 1,500 American travellers and more than 500 travellers of British and Irish origin found themselves stranded after the Peruvian President Martin Vizcarra announced a 15-day quarantine and closed its borders on 15th March. Mask-clad travellers could be seen desperately waiting at airports, with a look of worry in their eyes.

Americans stranded in Peru after border closure
Americans stranded in Peru; Picture credit: The Mercury News

Israeli and French citizens were airlifted back to their home countries and repatriation flights were arranged by the British and Irish governments. However, anxious American travellers who feared that they were running out of money took to social media to connect with fellow travellers who were also in a similar situation.

The hashtag #stuckinPeru has been trending on Twitter ever since the Peru government closed its borders. On 17th March, US travellers in Peru created a Facebook group titled ‘Americans Stuck in Peru’ to spread awareness and share the latest updates.

Stuck in Peru Facebook group created by people who are stranded there
A Facebook group created by people stranded in Peru

American travel Youtuber Dakota Wint, travelled to Peru to attend an Ayahuasca retreat.

“The American government is helping Americans get out for an expensive non-refundable ticket. I’ve seen people talking upward to $2,000. I have chosen to not go that route and to wait it out,” stated Dakota.

However, unlike other travellers, Dakota seemed to be ‘stuck’ in a happy place amidst nature with ample food and free bed.

European countries have also seen their worst

Italy has had the highest number of coronavirus cases in the world with death tolls reaching 6,077 on 24th March. On 10th March, the Italian government placed the country on lockdown and closed its borders, thus restricting all travel to and from the country.

Coronavirus cases around the world
Coronavirus confirmed cases around the world

Samantha Thomas, a resident of Salisbury, was in Italy when the boarders shut down and had to travel all the way to Austria to catch a flight back to the UK.

“We booked the next available flight (2 days-time) from Austria the minute flights cancelled all over Italy. We were concerned only matter of time before borders closed. We taxied 5 hours through Italy, Germany into Austria staying overnight in Salzburg,” said Samantha during an interview.

She mentioned that she was currently self-isolating and expressed her concern about people who were not taking the situation seriously.

“The infection rate is terrifying. Just keep washing those hands,” added Samantha.

empty roads in Italy after coronavirus lockdown
Empty roads in Italy after lockdown; Picture credit: New Scientist

In France, the total number of deaths were reported to have crossed 1,000, making it the fifth country to cross the 1,000 death toll mark after Italy, China, Spain and Iran. A report from France 24 mentioned a daily death toll rise of 240 on 24th March. On 16th March, French President Emmanuel Macron announced that the country would be closing its borders for 15 days starting from 17th March and also introduced a strict lockdown which would come into effect on the same day.

Irene Mironov, who lives and works in London had flown to France to meet her boyfriend. She mentioned in an interview that flights from the city she was residing in were cancelled soon after she decided to extend her stay by a few days. In the video below, she explains her situation and talks about the strict measures taken by the government to restrict the movement of people.

“I’m in south west France. It’s quite depressing here with a lockdown. The government introduces more and more restrictions every day. It’s crazy how much this world has changed in the last 10 days,” said Irene.


Asian countries enter lockdown

India and Pakistan have also entered lockdown after a sharp increase in the number of cases. On 24th March Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a 21-day nationwide lockdown, grounded domestic flights and imposed a ban on international arrivals.

A deserted streets in India due to nationwide lockdown
Deserted street in India; Picture credit: The Economic Times

A similar nationwide lockdown was announced by Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on 22nd March. Sana, a resident of Pakistan who currently lives in the UK said that she was worried about travel bans which would hamper her journey to and from her home country.

“Pakistan has banned incoming flights for 2 weeks, but even if they start allowing them, I’m worried for when I have to return to the UK. The UK government might ban incoming flights from there,” stated Sana in an interview.

On 23rd March, the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson also announced a nationwide lockdown.

Clinical trials are under way and medics are working round the clock and doing their best to provide necessary treatments. As of now, we can only hope that a vaccine will be developed soon.

One thought on “Travellers stranded overseas as worldwide coronavirus border closures intensify”

  1. Nice article Madhuri, very informative and really concerned about those who are still hanging in many places. Look forward to see positive side of stranded people life style during lockdown, probably this would help motivate others.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *