Japan travelers leave Peru on chartered flight amid virus spread

Japan travelers leave Peru on chartered flight amid virus spread

A group of Japanese nationals left Peru on a chartered flight Sunday after they were stranded in the South American country following its decision to close borders and ground international flights earlier this month in a bid to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

A total of 121 people, mostly Japanese nationals, boarded the flight arranged by a local Peruvian travel agency with the support of the Japanese Embassy in Lima. Some 260 were initially stuck in the country, it said.

Another 29 Japanese nationals left the country on Saturday aboard a flight chartered by the Taiwanese delegation in Peru.

The Sunday flight left Cusco, southern Peru, and stopped in Lima to pick up stranded nationals before heading to Mexico City, according to the embassy.

The travelers have to individually arrange and pay for their flights back to Japan.

Of the 121 people, 17 are long-term residents and one is a Peruvian of Japanese descent who will start a graduate program at Tokyo’s Waseda University in April.

The embassy is working on repatriating the approximately 60 Japanese citizens left in the country who are located in regions other than Cusco and Lima.

Some travelers, however, have expressed their intention to stay until the borders are reopened.

Borders were closed and international flights to Peru were grounded on March 17, and will continue through April 12, according to the Peruvian government.