Irish people trapped in Peru have been booked onto a flight out of the country.
In an email to the 135 or so Irish trapped in hostels around the country since martial law was introduced, they have been told they will be leaving at 4pm on Sunday.
Andrew Cotter, from Mitchelstown, Cork, said: “I cannot put into words the relief. Also, the second best news of the day was they made us pancakes for breakfast.”
The 31-year-old and his 30-year-old girlfriend Marie Barry, from Conna, are among a group of around 35 Irish citizens trapped in the south eastern Peruvian city of Cusco.
It takes 21 hours by road to get from there to the capital.
They also include Catherine Scroope and Ruadhán Elliott, from Bantry, west Cork.
Dubliner Conor Haugh, 28, who is in Lima, said: “Those of us lucky enough not to have been hit with stricter quarantine measures are due to fly out on Sunday at 4pm. I’’ll relax fully when I’’m on the plane, but this is the most concrete, positive news we’’ve had since this began.”
A fleet of buses will bring people in outlying towns and cities to the military base in Lima.
Some have been given a few hours notice to be ready to get on one of the busses that will take them to the airport.
Anyone who wants to get onto the flight has until 12pm Peru time to register with the Department of Foreign Affairs.
Anyone who is in quarantine are likely to be left behind until arrangements can be made to repatriate them.
Paul Gleeson, Ireland’s ambassador to Chile has just told the Irish over there: “We are pleased to have received confirmation that our evacuation flight from Lima will be on Sunday at 4pm.
“We will send another message shortly on bus arrangements to bring you directly to the military airport in Lima.
“For most of you, including those of you in Cusco and Arequipa, this will mean departing your accommodation tomorrow.
“But for some of you who are in difficult-to-reach locations, it could mean departing as early as this evening.”
He added: “We will be partnering with the UK Embassy in Lima for some bus arrangements, so it is possible you may hear from the UK Embassy if it has been agreed that you will travel on one of their buses.
“The PeruEvacuationFlight@dfa.ie mailbox will close to people who have not registered yet at 12pm Peruvian time today.”
But he had bad news for some.
“I am conscious that a very small number of you may not be able to travel with us on this flight due to quarantine restrictions in your accommodation or if your town is not reachable by bus,” he said.
“I’d like to reassure those citizens that we will be continuing to work with EU and UK partners to identify solutions to bring you home as soon as circumstances allow.”
At least one Irish citizen is among a group of 146 tourists who have been placed under quarantine for up to three months in their hostel by armed soldiers in Peru.
The complex has been shut down and is surrounded by armed police and soldiers.
This is because two guests tested positive for Covid-19 earlier in the week.
Their identity is not known but other Irish tourists in neighbouring hostels fear they may also get quarantined if any of their fellow residents test positive for the deadly virus.
Along with nine UK citizens, the Irish citizen is now locked inside the Pariwana Hostel in the south eastern Peruvian city Cusco.
And they have been warned they face ten years jail if they fail to comply with the quarantine.
They are now only allowed out of their room for one hour a day, and they must also wear a face mask at all times.