Coronavirus: HK tourist dies of Covid-19 in Peru

31-Mar-2020 Intellasia | South China Morning Post | 6:02 AM Print This Post

A Hong Kong tourist has died in Peru after contracting Covid-19.

Peru’s health ministry announced the death of the 64-year-old man on its website on Saturday, local time.

“A man aged 64 from Hong Kong was infected with Covid-19. He was found dead at his address in the region of Cusco at 3.20pm on March 27,” the ministry said.

The Chinese embassy in Peru confirmed that a visitor from Hong Kong had contracted the coronavirus and died of a cardiac arrest triggered by the disease. The man had reportedly been staying in a lodge after travelling to the southeastern city of Cusco with his wife.

He was one of five coronavirus deaths reported in the country on Saturday, taking Peru’s total number to 16.

Although he did not display any symptoms on arrival, the man followed local regulations and had been in quarantine since March 16. He had not been to a local hospital.

It remains unclear when the man entered Peru. Local authorities reportedly only confirmed he was infected during tests after his death.

Peru has been in lockdown since March 16 after the country declared a state of emergency to prevent the epidemic spreading.

All land, sea and air borders were closed, while a curfew from 8pm to 5am was imposed. The United States embassy in Peru previously said it had repatriated about 1,200 Americans from there.

Civic Party lawmaker Jeremy Tam Man-ho said he received requests for help from 80 Hong Kong tourists stranded there, including members of two tour groups.

He accused the Hong Kong government of “almost doing nothing” since he alerted them to the tourists’ plight about 1o days ago.

“I handed in the entire list of visitors to the Immigration Department, but the department has only told them to contact the Chinese embassy,” Tam said. “The situation is deteriorating, the curfew has been extended to mid-April.”

He said a female Hong Kong tourist backpacking in Cusco, along with others, had been isolated in a hostel after a confirmed infection was reported in the same building.

“She [the tourist] was told she would be in the hostel for about one to three months,” Tam said. “They are in a room of bunk beds that could increase the chance of infection. The Peruvian government is only placing them in isolation.”

Other citizens and tourists have also struggled to leave the country, and Tam urged the Hong Kong government to arrange chartered flights to Peru.

“Some are stranded in Cusco, which is located at an altitude of over 3,000 metres, and have already started to develop mild symptoms of altitude sickness,” he said.

On Saturday, the Chinese embassy said it would liaise with all tourist agencies and departments to help those stuck in the South American country.

The Hong Kong government said it received requests for assistance from 86 residents stranded in Peru as of Sunday noon, including about 30 from tour groups. It has requested the local government to allow them to leave the country.

“Some of the Hong Kong residents are in various parts of Peru and have to be arranged flights or transportation to the capital city of Lima to take flights out of the country,” it said in a statement. “The government is actively following up the matter and will notify the Hong Kong residents once there are updates about vacancies on flights to Hong Kong.”

Meanwhile, at least 37 Hong Kong residents are stranded amid lockdown in Casablanca and Marrakech in Morocco. Another 113 have already boarded flights to leave the country.

A Hong Kong woman who did not want to be named said her sister and brother-in-law had been trapped in Casablanca. She said her brother-in-law had diabetes and hypertension, and had already run out of medicines.

“We have told the Hong Kong Immigration Department about the situation, but there is nothing concrete yet,” she said. “We’re very worried about what happened in Peru, the same could happen in Casablanca as well.”

She hoped the government could send a chartered flight or join other countries to bring Hongkongers out of Morocco on a shared flight.

Meanwhile, Taiwan has arranged a chartered flight to evacuate from Lima its 55 residents and another 84 nationals from the United States, Singapore, and Japan. They will be flown to Miami in the US.


Category: Hong Kong

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