Colombian fans ask for repatriation help after being held up by COVID-19

A group of Colombian football fans stuck in Argentina after South American borders were closed due to the COVID-19 outbreak have appealed to their government to help them get home.

Some 15 fans of Medellin club Independent arrived in Buenos Aires by bus in early March and watched their team being beaten 3-0 by Boca Juniors in the Copa Libertadores.

However, when they set off on the near-7,000 km return trip, they arrived at the town of La Quiaca to find the Bolivian border closed.

“We’ve been through so much. It’s been a nightmare,” Christian Ramirez told Reuters. “We just hope to return home to our country.”

Ramirez said the fans had slept by rivers, in public parks and then in schools that were closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

They were forced to return 1,774 km to Buenos Aires.

After talks with the local government, they are now being put up in a hotel and hoping to get home as soon as possible.

“We’re in contact with the Colombian consulate and we are awaiting a humanitarian flight, although we don’t have a date yet,” Ramirez said.

Argentina has so far recorded 2,571 coronavirus cases, with 115 deaths.(NAN)

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