Young Katherine tour guide Travis Enright fears he could remain trapped in Peru, thousands of kilometres from home, for months.
The Peruvian Government in Lima yesterday shut its borders and banned all flights in and out, isolating thousands of foreigners and at least 100 Australians.
Australia plans to do the same and shut its borders to non-residents from tomorrow.
But across the wide Pacific Ocean, in a hostel in the small tourist town of Cusco and almost 1000km from the border, 20-year-old Travis Enright is stranded a long, long way from home.
He has already resigned himself to the fact he might not get out amid the chaos of coronavirus.
The bustling streets are usually filled with hikers preparing for the arduous trek through the Andes to Machu Picchu.
Now deserted as people isolate inside their homes, police and military hold the streets in lockdown.
"My first few days in Cusco were very vibrant, it was full of life, which is a stark contrast to what it is now," Mr Enright said.
"When a car drives by you look out the window, you don't see them often.
"It's eerie, really eerie. On the evening of the lockdown I walked the streets while it was still legal. There was nobody and everything was shut. The only people were police officers and military personnel, they are still constantly patrolling the streets."
Travelling since the beginning of the year, Mr Enright is one of thousands caught in an unprecedented pandemic unraveling daily.
When the country was shut down suddenly, he was waiting for a group of fellow hikers from Katherine who were closer to the border and managed to escape through the airport in Santiago, Chile.
Friends he had made at the hostel tried to make a dash to the border by bus, but never made it and are now stranded in a small village.
The Australian Embassy closed down with the close of the borders, exorbitantly priced commercial flights sold out within hours and Mr Enright was left in the lurch.
"I've spent much of the past few days on my phone," he said.
"I've been active in the Australian Stuck in Peru groups (on Facebook) and doing what little I can to help my mates.
"It's funny - many of these people you're chatting to are only a couple hundred metres away, yet if you are caught visiting them you can be put in jail."
Not much is done during the day, lockdown is lockdown.- Travis Enright
"It's okay to walk the streets, only if you are in dire need of food, water, ATM or medicine. You need to carry your passport and also keep a big distance from anyone you encounter.
"You are not allowed to be intoxicated, they are strict on this. There is also a curfew. If you don't follow all these rules, you will be taken to the station."
Hostels, vibrant with young and care-free travellers mere weeks ago are now a place of tension, with many worried about jobs and family at home.
"So the general vibe is a bit stressed, but more so worried," Mr Enright said.
"Many of the people are missing out on work and missing their families.
"Some were supposed to be back now. We may have to wait months to get back, so it is playing on people's minds.
"But in saying that, we put smiles on our faces and go about life inside the hostel.
"So far everything is self sufficient and functioning normally - people are satisfied and are still enjoying themselves. It's about making the most of a bad situation."
In Katherine, a father has been left with his hands tied, unable to bring his son home he says he feels helpless.
"This all happened in a matter of hours, Travis looked at every logical option, but there was no way out," Garry Enright, a long-term Katherine resident said.
"It all happened far too quickly for people to make rash decisions.
"Everything booked out, but it wouldn't have mattered because he wouldn't have made it to Lima in time.
"As a parent, I know he is street smart, he's travelled extensively, he's switched on, but when you're in a country that's locked down you can't help but be worried."
The rolling stream of media coverage painting a picture of overburdened hospitals, bare airports, and queues of masked people waiting in lines has not helped calm the situation for a father unable to help.
"I am looking at my son being away from home for a long time," he said.
"Even if he got out now, it might be too late to get back into other countries, he might have to quarantine, we just don't know."
Travis is part of a Facebook group calling on the Australian Government to send help.
Banding with others stuck in Peru, he says the group has become a place of information and friendship.
"Israel and Mexico have evacuated their citizens from Peru. It is crazy to think Australia is not planning on doing it.
"There are so many of us here and so far Australia has been very little help. I understand this is a tough time for the government, but it's not hard to do simple things like keep us informed."
Feelings of isolation and disappointment are shared between those he is keeping in close contact with online.
"Not only do we feel stranded, but also a bit disappointed that the official warning telling Aussies to get back home was far too late," Mr Enright said.
"Peru had already closed its borders, in and out. Us Aussies stranded here are very worried and are calling on the government to evacuate us."
More reading: Katherine Mayor calls for NT border to be closed
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