JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Many Americans are stuck in countries around the world due to the Coronavirus. For Kristen Monesmith, a North Carolina woman, Peru is a second home.
“I’m an emergency department nurse at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, and all of my friends graciously clean out their closets from time to time and give me all their clothes, and I bring them down here for the needy families," Monesmith said.
But that good deed turned into a nightmare after Peru’s president put the country on lockdown to stop the spread of the Coronavirus.
“It was a disaster. There were probably 200 people at the airport in Cusco," she said.
Monesmith was supposed to fly home to North Carolina earlier this week, but said commercial flights are canceled until the quarantine is lifted. She said no private cars are allowed on the roads, and that there’s a curfew at night.
She said the U.S. Embassy in Peru is giving her very few answers.
“The state department and the embassy this entire time has all the same thing: ‘Call your commercial airlines. See if you can get out.’ The borders are closed, the commercial airlines are not flying, so it’s not a possibility because they’re not flying any planes," Monesmith said.
As an emergency department nurse, Monesmith is eager to get home to help her own country through this crisis.
There is no official count of how many Americans or citizens of other nations are stranded outside their home countries. Peru confirmed its first case of the virus on March 6.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Friday that he is working to bring home Americans stranded in countries around the world with little or no warning as nations closed their borders to stop the spread of the virus.
And the U.S. military’s Southern Command said Friday that it was flying 89 U.S. citizens from Honduras to Charleston, South Carolina, after they could not to return home, in the second Air Force Mission to bring people from Honduras. But it’s unclear how the State Department plans to repatriate Americans stuck in other countries.