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  • Writer's pictureAshli Akins

Don't worry. I'm not dying.

Holy moly. I've received a few urgent panicked messages from friends and family telling me to "come home immediately," thinking I am going to die, due to a few fear-mongering articles about Peru that have been released in the last 48 hours. I would like to set the record straight with the Top 10 FAQs:

1. I am not a tourist. I am a resident of Peru.

2. I have health-care here. I do not have health-care in Canada.

3. I am home. This is my home. I am not "stranded." I am where I want and need to be.

4. I have a beautiful community of neighbours, and we are supporting each other through creative acts of kindness. We have a community WhatsApp group where we share books, information, food, and laughter. My compound-mates and I have created a DQW (Daily Quarantine Workout). I have a Quarantine Advent Calendar, where we count down the days with hidden treats. We are healthy, safe, and happy.

5. We are on military-imposed lockdown, with very strict rules about when, why, and who leaves their house. And you will be arrested if you don't follow the rules. You will not be arrested if you do follow the rules.

6. It is currently a 15-day quarantine, and they are considering extending it, but this has not yet been confirmed either way.

7. If I wanted to leave, I could not. All borders of Peru are permanently closed (whatever that means) for the foreseeable future. Peru does not have a "good" public healthcare system; they have however preventatively nipped this in the bud, much sooner than many so-called "developed" countries with better health care. I would rather be in quarantine here, but I would rather get Corona elsewhere.

8. Yes, I am considered a high-risk patient or part of the vulnerable population affected by Corona, due to my chronic illness. But I am in quarantine, and taking good care of myself, and have people to call on. Don't worry.

9. There is food. The grocery stores have food. We are allowed to go get that food. They re-stock that food. We will not starve.

10. I understand that there are over 800 Canadians (and many other tourists from around the world) stranded in Peru right now, feeling very unsafe. Many do not speak the language, do not have support systems here, and do not know what they are or are not allowed to do. We who live here are trying to give true information through FB groups to help calm nerves and navigate fears, while also reassuring our families overseas that our reality here is not necessarily what they're reading or hearing.

P.S. This is Qori in Quarantine. My adorable view.


Original post. I have re-posted this topic as a blog here, due to the popular response it received on my Facebook post, which was originally published on Saturday, March 21. It is clearly an important topic that needs to be clarified. Thank you all for caring so much about me. :)

Clarification re. #2. Apparently the BC Government has waived the three-month wait period for citizens who are returning to Canada due to Corona-related issues, so that they can be eligible to re-apply for MSP (health insurance) and be covered immediately. Thank you, Elise Velazquez Cote, for confirming this.


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