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Dearborn family stranded in Peru after Coronavirus lockdown

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Posted at 5:48 PM, Mar 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-31 16:15:01-04

(WXYZ) — A Dearborn family is stranded in Peru after the country’s president ordered a lockdown of the country earlier this week in response to the Coronavirus.

“We came actually to surprise our mother for her birthday,” said Mohamed Ali Taha. “And it turned into a nightmare. Into a lockdown.”

The five family members were supposed to leave Peru Tuesday.

“We went to Machu Picchu, and while we were there the president gave a speech and gave everybody 24 hours and said the country was going to be on lockdown,” Taha said. “He locked down the sea, the land and the air borders.”

The family may have to wait until March 31, the soonest the border could open.

Taha says the 24-hour notice of the border’s closure wasn’t enough time to change travel plans. Despite the family’s efforts, they couldn’t find a flight out of Peru.

“There’s hundreds of Americans here,” Taha said. “We actually have a group chat on Telegram where every single one of them says they’ve been trying to contact the embassy to contact their governor, the contact somebody, their state representative, they have no luck yet."

With no immediate help from the US government, the family had to extend their stay in the Airbnb they rented and now can almost never leave.

“We’re not allowed to walk in the streets. We’re stuck in a small apartment. There’s no washer. There’s no dryer. There’s a small refrigerator,” he said, adding: “There’s military everywhere, there’s blockades everywhere.”

For the foreseeable future, the Dearborn family is stuck in a country where they know no one, don’t speak the language and don’t have access to needed medications.

“My little brother has medical conditions, he has stomach problems and he’s running out of medication,” Taha said. “He needs to get back to his doctor, he needs to get his medication.”

The family knows the U.S. government’s hands are full right now, but they hope and pray they aren’t forgotten as the Coronavirus continues to spread.

“Who knows? This might last more than 15 days. This might last months,” he said. “We just need to get home.”