Despite having raised just over $5,000 on a crowdfunding site to help secure a ticket on a charter flight home to Australia, Moree man Will Munro Duncan will continue his anxious wait in Peru after local travel restrictions left him stranded in a northern town.
Like many Aussies sitting stranded in South America, the Australian Embassy in Lima got in contact with Mr Munro Duncan last week saying they had arranged for him to travel around 1,000 kilometres from the northern highlands to the capital, Lima, in the south to connect with a charter flight out of the country.
The news was welcomed by the 33-year-old who has largely been confined to his small hotel room in the northern town of San Antonio De Cumbaza for weeks after the coronavirus outbreak escalated around the globe in early March.
However, a follow-up email, received from the Embassy on Monday, informed Mr Munro Duncan that he was going nowhere, at least for the time being, due to local quarantine restrictions that prevented the trip south to the capital before Wednesday, to connect with the scheduled flight.
The embassy email said that the sudden change in plans “is disappointing for us as well as you”. The embassy also said that many other Australians already in Lima would not be returning home either, as the chartered flight was already “oversubscribed”.
Discussions with transport providers and authorities would continue to get Australians stranded inside the country to Lima and onto a future chartered flight, said the embassy.
Speaking exclusively to NITV News after receiving the follow-up email overnight, Mr Munro Duncan said that after all he had been through, the latest delay was frustrating.
“It felt like someone died seriously! It was such a kick in the guts,” he said.
“I was so happy and relieved, on top of the world, but that feeling was suddenly taken away and replaced with horror and fear.”
Mr Munro Duncan thanked his family “for having my back” and for everyone’s support for himself and the other Australians stranded in Peru.
“We’re coming home, it’s just a matter of time now,” he said.
Mr Munro Duncan is one of around one hundred Australians left stranded in Peru, after the third world country enforced a full 15-day military lockdown on March 16, in response to the Coronavirus pandemic. The country was given just over 24 hours' notice that the lockdown would be coming into effect.
Mr Munro Duncan has been backpacking around South America for five months and has been in Peru since February 1.