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Vancouver native in Guatemala works to return home in light of COVID-19

Last Updated Mar 24, 2020 at 4:03 pm PDT

Alicia Tesan and her grade 3 class in Guatemala. (Courtesy: Alicia Tesan)

Canadians outside the country at this point have been told to come home

Although one school teacher from Vancouver hasn't made it back from Guatemala just yet

She says the initial communication with the Canadian government wasn't the greatest

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — Canadians abroad are being advised to make their way home in light of COVID-19, but one Vancouver native working as a school teacher in Guatemala doesn’t have her flight back yet.

Alicia Tesan tells NEWS 1130 that while she loves working in that country, she wants to come back home.

“I don’t want to be here when things really do get bad. A lot of people here just regularly don’t get vaccinations and being a foreigner, I am putting people here at risk.”

She says she’s seen a lot more action from the Canadian government to help get its citizens home after what she claimed was a slow start getting in touch with the embassy.

Here in Guatemala, the President has done such a good job. As soon as the first case came in, he put a limited ban [on] incoming and outgoing travel,” she says. “That’s kind of when we started to think okay, if these things are happening, maybe we should be thinking about should we be getting home.”

This weekend Trudeau told reporters the federal government is working to make flights accessible for all Canadians.

“We’re working with Canadian airlines to make commercial flights available for as many Canadians who are stranded as possible. We will also be working with other countries to ensure that our airlines have the permissions and other supports necessary to fly,” Trudeau said.

The Prime Minister added Canadians stuck in remote areas are better off staying put for now and is urging Canadians currently held in foreign countries to make safe decisions.

He advises staying in touch with Global Affairs and not to head to airports unless you have a confirmed seat on a flight back.

The federal government will pay extra costs for the airline, but Canadians returning home will pay for tickets at a “responsible price.”


-With files from Tim James and Nikitha Martins