A Winmalee couple stuck in Peru when the Peruvian government abruptly went into lockdown, are safely back in Sydney.
David May and Deb Summerhayes were relieved to fly out of Lima military airport on a charter flight on Sunday, into two weeks' isolation at the Sheraton Hotel in Sydney.
"When the plane finally touched down in Sydney it was overwhelming. The cabin erupted with clapping and cheers," the couple said.
"There really is no place like home, but of course Sydney is such a different place than when we left. The operation to move us through immigration, supervised by police and military and on to buses to our hotel isolation was eerie and disconcerting, though the personnel involved were always courteous and helpful."
It was a difficult, dramatic and emotional journey back to Australia, but they are happy and grateful to be home and are in good health.
They will spend two weeks confined to their hotel room, where they have been reading and calling friends and relatives. They've also been given exercising tips for a hotel room.
"We've just spent two weeks in quarantine in Lima, so we feel well able to manage two more in Sydney, but we're very keen to be home, where we'd planned to self-isolate anyway," the couple said.
"We totally understand the seriousness of the situation, and the issue of the spread of the virus from returned travellers. It's frustrating for us because in Peru, we've just done two weeks' isolation in a country which has been in complete lockdown, but given the statistics, as a general rule, the isolation for returning travellers is a good idea."
They expressed their gratitude to Federal Macquarie MP Susan Templeman for her advocacy on their behalf while in Peru, and promised to keep lobbying for the return of 170 Australians still stranded in Peru.
"Leaving brought very mixed emotions. Those remaining are feeling abandoned. The lockdown has been extended, all commercial flights have ceased for months and it may be June at the earliest they can get home if they are not rescued," the couple said.
On Thursday, Foreign Minister Marise Payne said there could be a possible announcement soon regarding a Qantas repatriation of Australians in Peru.