Coronavirus: Hongkongers stuck in Peru to fly home this week

Elizabeth Cheung

Hong Kong residents stranded for weeks in locked-down Peru will finally be able to return home after the city’s government arranged a charted flight to depart on Friday.

The South American country shut its border on March 16 to curb the spread of the Covid-19 outbreak, making movement in and out of the country almost impossible.

The Hong Kong Immigration Department has received requests for assistance from 91 Hongkongers in Peru, including about 30 tour group members.

The city government said on Tuesday the chartered plane would take residents from Lima to London, where they would board other flights back to Hong Kong. The travellers would have to pay for the journey themselves.

Deserted streets in Lima. Peru has recorded 950 coronavirus infections and 18 related deaths. Photo: EPA

A government source said British Airways would be involved in the operation. “British Airways will send a flight to Peru to take Hongkongers to London,” the source said. “The airline will also reserve seats for these registered residents to fly home via London.”

It is understood the flight will depart Lima late afternoon on Friday.

The Hong Kong government said it was working with the Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China in the Asian financial centre, as well as the Chinese embassy in Peru.

Jack Ma donates supplies to help coronavirus fight in Latin America

Officials were still trying to arrange a chartered flight to help the roughly 30 Hongkongers stuck in Cusco, a historical city popular with tourists, get to Lima. Residents elsewhere in the country would need to travel to the capital with the help of local travel agencies or transport services operators.

A 64-year-old Hong Kong man died in Cusco on Friday local time after becoming infected with Covid-19. The country has recorded 950 infections and 18 related deaths.

Among those who had asked the Immigration Department for help, nine had already left the country through other routes. Three Hongkongers who were considered close contacts of the man who died were requested to enter local quarantine and be tested for the coronavirus.

Residents who had not been in touch with the Hong Kong Immigration Department and hoped to take the chartered flight should contact authorities by the end of Tuesday, local time.

The British government had earlier arranged flights for its citizens, including British National (Overseas) passport holders, to leave the country.

This article Coronavirus: Hongkongers stuck in Peru to fly home this week first appeared on South China Morning Post

For the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2020.