‘I want to go back home’: Richmond woman stuck in Peru amid coronavirus pandemic

Coronavirus

Traveled out of country to visit dying brother

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A 72-year-old Richmond woman stuck overseas amid the coronavirus pandemic told 8News she is desperate to get home.

Elizabeth Claure says she is stuck in Peru after the country closed its borders in response to COVID-19.

“I want to go back home,” Claure told 8News reporter Laura Perrot in a phone interview Friday.

Elizabeth Claure remains in Peru as a result of travel restrictions in response to COVID-19.

Originally from Peru, Claure moved to Richmond in 2005. She flew to the South American country on March 8 to see her sick brother.

“He passed, unfortunately, on March 14 and then on March 15 the country began a full lockdown and they closed the borders,” said Claure’s daughter, Jackie Lapidus, who has been doing everything she can to help her mother return to Richmond.

On March 26, Peruvian President Martín Vizcarra announced Peru would extend its state of emergency until April 12, meaning borders would remain closed. 

“The thing that’s most really worrisome right now is that they’re getting Americans out of areas that are really touristy, like Lima and Cusco, but my mom is not in those areas and she’s in a city where there are very few Americans and so she’s very low on the priority list right now it feels,” Lapidus said.

Elizabeth Claure pictured with her husband.

According to the U.S. Embassy in Peru, there are a few flights departing to America daily, but Lapidus said it is hard to get her mother on one of the flights.

“It’s a waiting game right now so I’m telling her to call the U.S. Embassy every day to let them know that she’s still there,” Lapidus said.

Lapidus has also been in contact with the offices of state Representative Abigail Spanberger and Senator Mark Warner. Lapidus’ mother is not the only Virginian stuck in Peru, she adds. According to Lapidus, an expectant mother, a VCU medical student, and several minors are waiting to get back to America.

“I let them know that there are over 115 other Virginians that are stuck there,” Lapidus said.

With only a few days left of her high cholesterol and thyroid medications, Claure is hoping the next call she receives is news that she will be on the next flight home.

“I want to go back home,” Claure said. “I am scared. Very scared.”

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