What was meant to be a two-week holiday to Colombia has become a trip of uncertainty with no clear end for a Rotorua man stuck in the South American country.
Sunny Chopra, a New Zealand permanent resident who has lived in Rotorua since 2011, has been in Colombia since March 10.
His trip was meant to be a two-week trip to visit friends but after one week he started trying to bring his return flight forward. However, Chopra wasn't able to find economy or business class seats home before Colombia and New Zealand went in lockdown.
Chopra did not expect the situation to get "out of hand" when he left New Zealand last month.
"I was thinking 'it's just two weeks, it is going to be all right'," Chopra said.
Since the lockdown, he has been staying with a friend in Medellin, the capital of Colombia's Antioquia province, unable to change his situation.
"I do feel safe ... I just need to get home," he told the Rotorua Daily Post yesterday.
At the start of this week, Colombia had more than 1500 registered Covid-19 cases, 46 deaths and 88 people have recovered, according to the World Health Organisation.
Chopra has been in close contact with his travel agent, Immigration New Zealand, the New Zealand Embassy in Colombia in Bogota, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in New Zealand and his employer, Rotorua Pak'n Save.
His partner in Rotorua has also been liaising with these organisations.
Google Maps lockdown data maps locals movements
'Criteria-based' rates deferral option approved for businesses
"People are helping me but it's just there's no way I can do anything," he said.
"I'm trying my best."
Chopra is a bakery manager at Pak'n Save and said his employer had been "very supportive" to help him get home.
"I really appreciate that ... It's hard. It's Easter time, I'm supposed to be at work."
"I don't feel good staying away from work while it is busy," he said.
He has full access to food, water and internet where he is in Medellin and has not had any Covid-19 symptoms.
On Monday, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters announced 83 New Zealanders in Peru would have the chance to fly home on a Government-chartered flight.
"Like many travellers around the world at the moment, New Zealanders in Peru have faced the extraordinarily difficult task of getting home with no commercial flights, and no transit options," Peters said.
Chopra said if the Government could make similar arrangements for New Zealanders in Colombia "that would be really appreciated".
"I am just keeping high hopes. Every day."
Sunny's older brother, Ajay Chopra, also lives in Rotorua.
He told the Rotorua Daily Post he had been worrying about Sunny "a lot" - as had their parents in India.
Ajay's children know their uncle is stranded, too, and have been speaking to him via internet calls and messages.
"I just want him to be back home safe. He has been stuck there for a while."
There are currently 48 New Zealanders registered on SafeTravel as being in Colombia, both travellers and residents, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
"The New Zealand Government is committed to helping New Zealanders overseas where it can and is exploring all possible options in consultation with partners," a ministry spokeswoman said in a written statement.
"The situation is extremely complex and is changing quickly, and some things are beyond our control. Government-assisted departure flights should not be relied upon to get home.
"Our message continues to be that where New Zealanders have the option of travelling commercially to get to New Zealand they should pursue that. New Zealanders who cannot return home for the time being should safely shelter in place."