Two UC San Diego doctors who traveled to Peru on a humanitarian medical mission earlier this month are trying to return to the U.S. after they found themselves stuck in South America due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Anesthesiology resident Rupa Prasad and Associate Clinical Professor of Anesthesiology Reema Sanghvi left for their humanitarian mission on March 8 before any travel restrictions were put into effect.
Originally planned to leave March 26, the two doctors decided to leave days earlier due to the ongoing pandemic but Peru had already shut its borders by then. Now, the pair are quarantined in a Lima hotel until further notice.
Sanghvi told NBC 7 the hotel is rationing breakfast and the country is only allowing people to go to the supermarket every three or four days.
“It’s only a matter of time before they begin to run out of food and water,” she said. “When that happens, there will no longer be peace here.”
The duo said they’ve been in touch with the state department and local representatives in hopes they would be of some assistance in their return. However, there is no guarantee that can happen.
Other than wanting to return to San Diego to their loved ones and to be back home, Prasad and Sanghvi said they want to do their part in treating others.
“We’d like to be useful in this circumstance,” Sanghvi said. “We understand that our colleagues at home are stressed and anxious and overwhelmed, and we’d love to be back at work.”