A COUPLE from Uttoxeter are pleading with the UK Government to bring them home from Peru after the country went into lock down.
Steve and Anne Dobson travelled to the country a fortnight ago, but, within days the coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic prompted a nationwide lock down and curfew, leaving them trapped.
Anne is insulin-dependent and concerns are rising that her medication may run out before she can come home. The couple have a son, Paul Dobson and daughter, Naomi Doherty. Naomi said: “The world felt like a different place when my parents set off on their travels, and that was only two weeks ago.
“They’re savvy travellers and checked before they left, but at the time it was still deemed safe to travel. That quickly changed, and despite deciding to cut their trip short, they couldn’t get a flight out, and it appears that they ended up in the worst place in the world for allowing repatriation. That being said, other countries have managed to get their citizens home. With my mother’s dependency on insulin, the worry isn’t just about her being home, it’s about her having enough medication whilst she’s there.
“It feels like a ticking time bomb with every day that passes. The FCO have stated that flights are being organised, but without having a set date, it’s still a big concern.”
The ‘bucket list’ trip included tours of key points in Peru, Bolivia, Argentina and Brazil. Steve and Anne were visiting Cusco in Peru, when the country went into lock down. They are 1,000 miles from Lima – the only city that offered the chance of a flight home – along with around 30 other tourists from Europe and the Americas.
Steve said: “We’ve not found the Embassy people here very helpful, though we have had some interaction with them recently. Nor has our MP been particularly helpful, which is disappointing as it’s only government to government involvement that can allow charter flights in to take us out. “The biggest concern is for Anne’s health. Anne’s a type one insulin dependent diabetic but we’re ok for medicines at the moment.
“We took the decision to travel with an additional two weeks requirements before leaving. We trekked around 20 pharmacies here straight after the lock down was announced and actually found the insulin that she’s prescribed, though whether that’ll be there still if we come to need it in three weeks’ time is another story – we hope we’re out of here by then.
“Currently she’s keeping well, apart from the issues with difficulty in breathing due to high altitude – it’s 11,000 feet here. She is feeling vulnerable and the healthcare here is not up to UK standards if anything should happen. We’ve been FaceTiming friends, and we connected to a group of friends from our church in Uttoxeter, all in their own homes, via Skype for a short service, which was great.
“It was good to see them and know that a lot of people are praying for us and it gave us the reassurance that whatever happens God is in control. Which is as true for them in the UK as it is for us!”
The couple are among almost 500 UK citizens appealing for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) to help them return home, after the Peruvian Government implemented a series of travel restrictions, including a ban on air travel without government permission.
A special travel advice page has been set up by the FCO for people stranded in Peru and British nationals there are being urged to make contact with the British Embassy in the capital, Lima. An FCO spokesperson told the Echo: “We are working round the clock to make flights available next week for British people who wish to leave Peru but who are currently unable to do so on commercial flights because of the travel restrictions that have been imposed.”
No British nationals are believed to have tested positive for Corvid-19 in Peru and the Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab is expected to speak with his Peruvian counterpart about arrangements for flights. Over the weekend, Mr Raab said on Twitter: “I had a good conversation this afternoon with my opposite number in Peru, Gustavo Meza-Cuadra.
“Amidst all the challenges of tackling Coronavirus, we committed to working together in the coming days to enable UK nationals in Peru and Peruvian nationals in the UK to return home.”
Diplomatic correspondent James Landale told the BBC yesterday: “There’s a big problem in Peru. “The first flight is going to come out of Lima tomorrow.”
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