COVID-19: Regina man with cystic fibrosis stuck in El Salvador
REGINA -- A Regina man is trapped in El Salvador after the country closed its international airport on Tuesday.
For the past five years, Regina’s Jordan Leibel has been making a trip to El Salvador to volunteer. One part as a documentary film maker, the other as a volunteer with CoCoSi, a human rights organization that advocates for person’s living with HIV and AIDS.
Leibel had planned to fly back to Canada on April 8th, but amidst the Covid-19 outbreak, he changed his flight to March 21st. However on Tuesday, the Government of El Salvador abruptly closed the international airport in San Salvador, the capital.
“The government of El Salvador implemented a complete shut down of the airport and all borders, so no persons are allowed to leave or enter the country,” says Leibel from Santa Marta, a small town in the Central American country.
To make matters worse, Leibel lives with cystic fibrosis, a health condition which compromises his immune system. It mainly affects his lungs and digestive system. Leibel location in El Salvador is fairly isolated, but he’s still concerned about contracting the virus.
“If I were to receive the Coronavirus, it would likely be a death sentence here since the health care system is not the most efficient or effective.”
The El Salvador government has taken similar measures to Canada, on top of closing the border. They’ve limited group gatherings to 50 people or less, “So far from what the government has released to the public, there have been 0 cases, and 0 presumptive cases as well, whether or not this is exactly true information or how much testing is being done I’m not exactly certain.”
What concerns Leibel the most, is his journey home. Even if the number of presumptive cases in El Salvador is zero, Leibel is worried that number will increase, and be especially threatening when he can eventually leave the country.
“My biggest worry currently is April 2nd, if the airports do open up and I’m able to leave the country, what will the airports look like and how many people in the airports will be infected.”
Leibel says if the airport opens in 15 days, he’ll be able to fly back to Canada on a direct flight to Toronto. But he suspects El Salvador will implement and extension on the border closure, and he’ll be stuck in the country longer