CALGARY -- With just a handful of flights left set to depart Peru, time is running out for more than 1,000 Canadian travellers and residents stuck in the South American country.

Calgarian John Fidlin and his wife are currently in the Andean city of Cusco, where police and military are enforcing a strict lockdown. According to the Peruvian government, as of March 21, more than 8,000 people had been arrested for violating lockdown measures.

"They’re not aggressive or anything," Fidlin says. "People here understand that the police aren’t messing around and it’s not a time to mess around with the police either."

In hostels where guests have tested positive for COVID-19, some Canadians are confined to their rooms and are being told they may have to stay there for up to three months.

Military roadblocks have sealed off many major cities in the rugged country, leaving specially sanctioned flights as the only way out.

While Cusco is a major hub, another group of Calgarians are stranded in the city of Pucallpa, located in the Amazon basin, which is about 16 hours of difficult bus travel from the capital of Lima during normal times.

Laurel Conley says she is being asked to pay $1,400 dollars for a flight from Lima to Toronto — if she can get to the Peruvian capital. Although she has no choice, she says her original return ticket was $700.

"As the situation just keeps escalating day to day," says Laurel Conley, stuck in the Amazon city of Pucallpa. "It’s really starting to be very very worrisome for people."


"(It’s) the extreme expense of getting a flight home. Most people are looking at about $2,000," Conley says.

Limited flights are continuing out of the coastal capital of Lima, which can only be booked with a registration code issued by the Canadian consulate in Peru.