AUSTIN, Texas - Several countries, including Peru, are implementing travel bans to slow the spread of COVID-19. Hundreds of Americans who were visiting can’t leave, including an Austin couple.
Dylan Baddour and his fiancé Pu Ying Huang are trapped in Peru.
“We're trying to get back to the United States, but it's just where we can't escape this city of Cajamarca that we're in,” said Baddour.
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Baddour and Huang graduated from the University of Texas at Austin and for the past two years have lived in Columbia. Recently, they decided they wanted to come back to Austin but first wanted to make a trip to Peru.
“At that time, any South American countries had, you know, between one and four cases in them. The very first were just coming,” said Baddour.
Soon, things got worse.
“A little more than a week later, after our trip, we find the entire continent just locking its doors,” said Baddour.
Peru was responding to the quickly rising cases of coronavirus.
“Three days before Dylan and I were having a serious conversation about, ‘hey, I think it's time to reevaluate the travel plans. Let's go ahead and buy a flight to go back to the U.S.,” said Hyuang.
By the time they made the 14-hour bus trip from Cajamarca to Lima so they could fly back, they were too late. Peru implemented a travel ban. “We missed our chance to escape,” said Baddour.
Currently Peru is under quarantine until March 31st.
“The way things are going, I think it's reasonable to expect it could become longer or indefinite,” said Baddour.
Baddour says he has contacted Texas politicians to try to get some answers. He says representatives from Senator John Cornyn and Senator Ted Cruz’s offices gave him a list of instructions including for them to reach out to the local U.S. Embassy.
“My assumption at the time, being an American citizen, is that we would get in touch with the embassy and they would tell us something like we're working on it, we're definitely going to get you out, but the embassy seems entirely shut down. There's no one on the phones, no one on the emails,” said Baddour.
Baddour’s family at home in Austin is also just as worried.
“We weren't really thinking that it would get to this point. [We feel] helpless because we're relying on both the U.S. government and the Peruvian government to step in,” said Linda Baddour.
The only hope now is for the U.S. to hopefully charter flights to Peru to help those like Baddour and Hyaung.
“We don't know what is next, and it could be something huge and there's literally nothing we can do about it because every government is trying to contain this virus on a global scale and so we're just all at the mercy of that,” said Hyuang.
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