Central Illinoisans stuck in Peru amidst quarantine


PERU (WCIA) — No one can fly in or out of Peru after their president enacted a 15-day quarantine. Among those who can’t leave are people from central Illinois. 

A two-week vacation to Lima, Peru is shaping up to be much longer for Christopher Brunson. He came to the city to visit his fiance. 

“I arrived March 8. I was initially scheduled to leave tomorrow, March 21, but all flights have been canceled,” said Brunson. He’s reached out to Senator Tammy Duckworth, Representative John Shimkus and Senator Dick Durbin’s office for help. 

“I was able to hear back from Senator Durbin’s office through phone call and email,” said Brunson. “His office was working with the state department on trying to find a solution for U.S. citizens stuck in countries abroad who are trying to return to the U.S.”

Alison Smith lives in Savoy. Her family of four’s flight back from Cusco, Peru to O’Hare has already been canceled twice because of the quarantine. 

“There’s a curfew. There’s police on the street. We’re allowed to leave for food or medicine, but even that they don’t want us to as much as possible,” said Smith. They’re scheduling another flight for early April and are crossing their fingers the restrictions are over by then. “It’s just stressful. The lack of information; the uncertainty is what’s stressful.”

 “There’s a lot of people in more dire situations that need help to get back to the United States,” said Brunson. “We’re hoping to get on a larger platform so that we can apply some pressure to the U.S. government, to some airlines that… don’t forget about us. We’re here and we need your help. It’s not just my story, but this is the story of thousands of U.S. citizens in Peru and countries all over the world… that we are desperately seeking help in how to return back to our homes and our families so that we can be with them during these uncertain times.”

We reached out to the office of Durbin and Shimkus and have not heard back. Senator Duckworth’s office sent this statement:

“Senator Duckworth is aware of a number of constituents stranded abroad and she’s working with the State Department and other Members of Congress to get them home quickly and safely.”

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