Sask. woman among 5 Canadian nurses stuck in Peru
Caitlyn Stouffer is from Regina, Sask. She's currently stuck in a hotel in Peru, under a government-enforced 15 day self-isolation. (Courtesy: Caitlyn Stouffer)
REGINA -- A Saskatchewan woman stuck in Peru is asking the Canadian government to help get her home safely.
More than a month ago, registered nurse Caitlyn Stouffer left for South America. It wasn’t until last week that measures regarding COVID-19 went into high gear, and Stouffer found herself isolated in a hotel in Cusco, Peru with 17 others.
Five of the 17 are Canadian registered nurses.
“It’s no secret how overwhelmed the healthcare system is right now at home,” Stouffer said. “So I think we’re all thinking the sooner we can get home and finish self-isolation at home the sooner we can get back to working with those in need right now.”
Stouffer says the Peruvian government is doing its best to ensure people are taking the isolation order seriously, but said the experience is still unnerving.
“It’s the uncertainty of not being sure when we’ll be able to come home,” she said. “The difference here is that there’s military and police roaming the streets.”
Peru announced borders would close on March 16 and all commercial international flights into the country were cancelled. A mandatory self-isolation was put in place for everyone in the country for a 15 day period.
Stouffer said a new curfew has been implemented and travel on roadways has been banned.
Stouffer, who is originally from Regina but now lives in Calgary, said she’s taken comfort in the company of the other stranded travelers; however the experience has been frustrating.
“We’re kind of just getting generic, automatic responses from the embassy, saying that they’re doing everything they can and that they know we’re here,” she said.
Stouffer said based on the information she’s received, she believes rescue flights from the Government of Canada are currently their only option.
“We saw a group of Israelis from our hotel get on a government flight,” she said. “We heard of Mexico getting a flight out for its residents,” she said. “As well as the U.S. so we’re just wondering if those countries can do this why is Canada lagging behind?”
Stouffer says their group is healthy, fed and safe but wants to get the message out that there are hundreds of Canadians stuck in Peru who want to come home.