An NHS worker, from Bolton, stuck in Peru says she has been told she will have to pay thousands of pounds for a flight home.

North West Ambulance Service worker Sheena Watson was travelling in Cusco in Peru when the country's borders suddenly closed last week.

She says she has been left feeling 'abandoned and helpless' as the government scramble to deal with the situation.

Peru's president Martin Vizcarra announced a state of emergency onMarch 15, saying borders would close on March 16 for a period of 15days in an attempt to stop the virus spreading.

Given no warning about the measures, Ms Watson franticallytried to reach the capital, Lima, for a flight out of the country before the shutdown.

She successfully got to Lima, but the borders closed just one hour before her flight.

  • Several other NHS workers from across the North West are facing similar difficulties - Mel Barham spoke to some of them:

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Ms Watson, from Farnworth, said "I started this trip on March 11 and I was due to be here for three weeks. Everything was all fine when I flew out, there were no restrictions, no quarantine."

Ms Watson, 44, says she is now stranded in an airport hotel in Limawith other British travellers, all obeying a strict curfew.

She says she has no idea when she might make it back home for her ambulance service shifts.

"I was a flight attendant for 10 years before I joined the ambulanceservice. I was on the job when 9/11 happened - even that was moreorganised than this," said Ms Watson.

"I feel completely abandoned and helpless, you just do not know who togo to for information.

"Everybody who tries to contact the embassy gets the same automated message."

Ms Watson works for the North West Ambulance service and is desperate to get home. Credit: MEN Media

Last week, the stranded travellers were offered a flight on a charterplane, says Ms Watson: "The only offer of help we have had from thegovernment so far is a flight with Avianca, a Columbian company.

"That would go from Lima to London at a cost of $3,000 to $3,500(£2,975) per person.

"The government said that if you don't take that flight and pay thatfee then you are choosing to stay in Peru. It is almost extortion."

Since that offer, the only other contact Ms Watson has had from theForeign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) was an email on Saturday about a possible repatriation flight.

Ms Watson said: "We had an email from the FCO collecting all ourdetails, it suggested a fare of £250, but no confirmation officially.

"We have had no more updates from the FCO. I will believe it when I amactually strapped to my seat."

The Foreign Office says it is working 'around the clock to bring people home'.

Following talks on Saturday with his counterpart in Peru, foreignsecretary Dominic Raab tweeted: "Amidst all the challenges of tacklingcoronavirus, we committed to working together in the coming days toenable UK nationals in Peru and Peruvian nationals in the UK to returnhome.”