COVID-19: Salisbury backpacker 'feeling positive' despite Peru quarantine

COVID-19: Salisbury backpacker 'feeling positive' despite Peru quarantine

Published by Faye Tryhorn at 5:34am 6th April 2020.

4 minute read

Chris Ramsay's been stuck in a hostel in Cusco for over 3 weeks, and doesn't know when he'll be able to leave.

Chris has been travelling in South America and arrived in the Peruvian city on 4th March.

But the hostel he's staying in has been placed in lockdown since 16th March, after some of the people staying there tested positive for Covid-19.

Chris says things have been uncertain, but he's trying his best to think positively: 

"We have no idea exactly how long any of this is going to take, or what's going to happen next, how we're going to back, if we're going to get back, that kind of thing. Most people have come to accept this situation that we're in now - we've got to ride it out and try and make the best of it."

Chris Ramsay Video Call from Peru April 2020
Chris spoke to Spire FM via video call from Peru

QUARANTINE TIMELINE

  • 4th March - Chris arrived in Cusco, Peru
  • 13th March - Checked into Pariwana Hostel, Cusco
  • 16th March - Start of Peruvian national lockdown, allowed out once a day
  • 23rd March - Two guests at the hostel show Covid-19 symptoms, hostel locked down while test results come back in 3-5 days, warned that could be extended to 28 days if positive
  • 24th March - Police block off street and all guests are sent to rooms at around 10.00pm
  • 25th March - Hostel announces 'absolute quarantine' for 1 to 3 MONTHS, guests sent to rooms for 23 hours a day and told that breaking 26th March - National lockdown in Peru extended to 28 days
  • 27th March - Hostel tells guests that they're talking to respective governments about covering cost of stay and food, could be made possible to leave before end of quarantine if home government can arrange with Peruvian health ministry
  • 28th March - Email at 5.00pm to say there's a flight back to the UK the following day, with a 6.30am pick up, Chris then tries to contact authorities for confirmation
  • 29th March - Told at 5.45am that he's not allowed to leave, sent to room at 7.30pm with health ministry officials and armed police outside
  • 5th April - Told there might be another flight from Cusco in a week or so, but still no word on getting out the hostel or to Peru's capital Lima to get flight
Chris Ramsay's room in Peru
The room at the hostel in Peru where Chris is staying

Chris says after a teething problems with the lockdown when food was in short supply, things have been better since.

He says there's been some camaraderie between the guests, but ultimately, he just wants to get home:

"We had about 24 hours between Peru's President saying that they were going to close the borders and the borders closing, so to actually get from Cusco to Lima and get a flight out was nigh on impossible. We're not getting any communication from the Foreign Office really, so we're kind of at a loss. At the moment, we're just concentrating on when we can get out of the hostel."

Chris has also told Spire FM that he's tried to contact the British Ambassador in Peru numerous times, without any luck.

But he says there's been a couple of lighter moments: 

"We've all been here just over two weeks now, so we all get on. The Swiss, amongst the things they've been given (in a Government food package), had some Toblerones delivered as well and they shared a bit of that with us! It was much appreciated, it's been a while since I've had any of that!"

RESPONSE FROM SALISBURY MP

Chris has been in contact with the city's MP, John Glen, to ask for help to be repatriated.

Spire FM asked for the latest update on his case, with Mr Glen telling us:

"I have spoken to the Foreign Office Minister and made her aware of Chris's specific circumstances. I am contact with Chris and his mother on a daily basis and seeking clarification on how Chris can get home when his quarantine in the Cusco hostel (imposed by the Peruvian authorities) ends. I am doing everything I can, as my team are, with constituents in multiple overseas countries."

Salisbury's MP also tweeted that he's keen to find a resolution for Chris: 

"We need to continue pulling out all the stops to make sure we leave no one behind."

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