Irish tourists and backpackers trapped in Peru since the outbreak of Covid-19 there are asking for the Irish Government to do more to help them get home.

Jessica Powell from Dublin had travelled to Peru to meet her boyfriend who had been travelling around South America, but just a week after they arrived in Peru, the country went into lockdown.

She said she believes at least 30 Irish people are in the same situation and said that the curfew has left many travellers fearful that they will not be able to get out at all.

"Basically we were here about a week and I was due to fly home on Monday. On Sunday night the president declared a state of emergency and said that everyone must go into lockdown for 15 days."

She said she received an email from KLM on Sunday to inform her that her flight, which was due to go out the next morning, had been cancelled.

She was in the process of trying to rebook her flight when the Peruvian President Martín Vizcarra announced the 15-day state of emergency and the total closure of the country's border.

"No one was to get in or out of the country so anyone who did have flights within a 12-hour time frame were able to get out but for most of us that meant we were stuck here."

Peru's government has deployed masked military personnel to block major roads in Lima, while police have restricted the movement of people, as the country rolled out a state of enforced "social isolation" to slow the spread of coronavirus.

Ms Powell has since been staying in a hostel in Lima along with a number of other Irish people.

"Our biggest fear at the moment is that the common area in the hostel has apartments that are overlooked by Peruvians and that they're going to take photos of us and basically report us to the authorities to say that this is a group gathering, there should be no group gatherings and that we should all be kept in our rooms." 

She said some Peruvians have blamed Europeans for bringing Covid-19 into the country. 

"They've really taken a stand against us. We're also on curfew between 8pm and 5am and if we are to leave the hostel it's only to go to a grocery store and there's armed guard patrolling the streets." 

She said she was fearful about what might happen in two weeks' time if the situation becomes more unstable. 

"We've heard of people who have been egged walking down the street, even Europeans being beeped at by taxis to draw attention to them so it’s quite scary to think that this could get a lot worse for us in the next two weeks." 

She said she has been in touch with the nearest Irish embassy in Chile, but the only way out offered has been a flight that could cost over €3,000. 

Details of this flight have been sent by the British Embassy to its citizens also stranded in Peru, stating that Colombian airline Avian was considering operating a charter flight from Lima to London this weekend but warned that the one-way trip was likely to cost those stranded between US$3,000-3,500. 

With sites such as Cusco and Machu Picchu, Peru is one of the most visited countries by tourists in South America. 

Airline industry group ALTA said Colombia, Paraguay, Chile, Argentina, Honduras, Guatemala, Bolivia, Panama and El Salvador had also restricted flights into their territories. 

Irish citizens looking for assistance abroad should contact the Department of Foreign Affairs Covid-19 phone line on +353 1613 1733 or online.  

Around 80% of cases of Covid-19 will be a mild to moderate illness, close to 14% have severe disease and around 6% are critical.

Generally, you need to be 15 minutes or more in the vicinity of an infected person, within 1-2 metres, to be considered at-risk or a close contact.