A little over two weeks ago, three Illawarra couples jetted off for the trip of a lifetime to Peru.
At the time, there was no travel advice from the government not to go overseas to South America and the number of COVID-19 cases there was minimal.
But, four days later, that rapidly changed.
For the past 10 days, Connie and Andrew Mauriello, Lina and Enzo Frino, Toni Carusi and Diego Diaz have been shut in hotel rooms in Cucso, after the Peruvian government announced a strict shutdown would come into force within 24 hours.
With no way of moving around the country, unless under military escort, they were told to stay put and just catch their normal flight home. But then the lockdown got extended, their flights were all cancelled, more world borders closed and now there is still no clear advice on when they might be able to come home.
For their children in Wollongong, not knowing when their parents will be able to return - and not knowing what medical care would be available to them if they were to get sick overseas - has been an extra stress in this already uncertain time.
Jess Mauriello, 29, said her parents had agreed to pay between $5000 and $10,000 for a private flight out of Peru, but said there was still no clear date set for when this may be able to take place.
"It's very stressful - we know they are safe: they're together in a hotel and are not allowed outside except for 10 minutes windows in the courtyard - but it's very worrying not to know when they will be able to come home," she said.
The couples' families are now trying to lobby the government to bring them and hundreds of other Australians in Peru home as quickly as possible, before the COVID-19 pandemic gets worse.
They have signed an online petition to try to put more pressure on the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).
In a statement, DFAT said there were still "hundreds of thousands of Australians travelling abroad". It urged all Australians able to come home to do so immediately, but it said it could not give guarantees that it would be able to return all travellers home.
"As well as the scale of challenges posed by the global Covid-19 pandemic, our capacity to provide consular services in this environment is constrained," the department said.
"[On Tuesday], the Government agreed to consider, on a case-by-case basis, supporting our airlines to operate non-scheduled services to less central locations to bring Australians home.
"These will only be done where it is feasible, where all other commercial options have been exhausted and where local authorities will permit such flights."
"We do not have plans for assisted departures, such as those conducted to the epicentre of the COVID-19 outbreak, Wuhan in China and Japan."
"As many travellers are doing, it may be necessary for some Australians to stay where they are overseas, and as far as practicable remain safe and comfortable, including by following the directions of local authorities. Given the unprecedented scale of the global interruption to travel, the options outlined will not return all Australians travellers home."
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