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Albertans abroad finally make it home amid COVID-19 crisis: ‘It was utter relief’

Click to play video: 'COVID-19: Canadians desperate to leave Peru' COVID-19: Canadians desperate to leave Peru
WATCH ABOVE (March 24): The ongoing mission to repatriate stranded Canadians continues, as the federal government organizes flights to Peru. But as Ross Lord reports, rescuing everyone right away is proving impossible. – Mar 24, 2020

More than 10 days after the federal government urged Canadians to return home over novel coronavirus fears, many Albertans have finally made it back.

Sheila Ethier and a group of friends landed in Bucerias, Mexico at the end of January.

Originally, the group was scheduled to return home to Edmonton April 7 but calls from Canadian Foreign Affairs to come home cut their trip short.

“There wasn’t too much excitement but by Sunday, a lot of the restaurants had closed, there was this huge exodus of tourists.

READ MORE: Trudeau closes Canadian borders to most foreign travellers amid coronavirus outbreak

Ethier was then scheduled on a March 25 WestJet flight. Then WestJet announced it was suspending all international flights effective March 22.

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The group struggled to get information on whether they would be able to return.

Finally, they got confirmation they would be on a repatriation flight to Calgary March 23.

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“Immediately I was like, ‘Thank you Justin Trudeau. Thank you, WestJet,'” Ethier told Global News.

After an overnight layover, Ethier made it back to Edmonton on March 24.

Click to play video: 'Albertans trying to get back to Canada as travel restrictions tighten over the coronavirus' Albertans trying to get back to Canada as travel restrictions tighten over the coronavirus
Albertans trying to get back to Canada as travel restrictions tighten over the coronavirus – Mar 15, 2020

The group is now in self-isolation for 14 days.

Ethier said while it was frustrating to be re-booked so many times, she understands how busy airlines and the federal government are. She’s just glad to be home.

READ MORE: Unreturned calls, automated emails: Albertans stuck abroad have trouble returning home

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Two other Alberta families Global News has been in touch with have also made it back to Edmonton.

The Statt family cut their trip to Spain short and managed to fly to Amsterdam. There, they had three flights cancelled before finally making it on one back to Canada on March 21.

Click to play video: 'Mexico travellers concerned about getting home to Edmonton after flights cancelled, airport packed' Mexico travellers concerned about getting home to Edmonton after flights cancelled, airport packed
Mexico travellers concerned about getting home to Edmonton after flights cancelled, airport packed – Mar 22, 2020

Judy Rausch was with a tour group in Morocco when the calls to come home were made. She was able to fly standby on Air France an hour before the federal government announced a repatriation flight to Morocco.

Any person returning to Canada from an international destination must self-isolate for 14 days.

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