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Coronavirus: Ontario woman seen in Peru news report sparks international act of compassion

Ontario woman found in Peru with COVID-19 symptoms
WATCH ABOVE: It took the efforts of local media in Peru and a woman in Bradford, Ont., to help a sick Canadian woman on the streets of Lima. As Caryn Lieberman explains, there were concerns she had the novel coronavirus.

A Bradford, Ont., woman had been speaking with family in her native Peru when she learned of a news report about a Canadian woman on the streets appearing to exhibit symptoms of COVID-19.

It was the top story making headlines on a popular news program.

Claudia Rivas said she became concerned for the woman who was alone in a country under lockdown due to the novel coronavirus.

READ MORE: Saskatonian stuck in Peru due to COVID-19 pandemic urges federal government to do better

“She was coughing really bad, she had a high fever, but she was trying to isolate herself in the conditions that she could,” said Rivas.

Based on media reports, the woman had spent several months in Peru but became ill and was alone, living on the streets.

As news reports zeroed in on her ID card, it showed she is from Port Hope, Ont. Rivas then took to social media desperate to contact her family.

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“A Canadian lady in Lima, Peru wandering the streets and very sick. The media brought her to the hospital,” she wrote on a popular parent Facebook group.

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“The media is trying to contact the Canadian embassy. Her ID is showing her address. Hopefully we can find her family.”

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Local reports out of Lima suggested it was a journalist who initially saw the Ontario woman and brought her to hospital because she was displaying symptoms of the virus, but the hospital later released her.

A few days later, media once again located the woman at a well-known park, sleeping on the ground, appearing ill, and authorities were called to respond.

A special team with full protective gear approached her and brought her back to the hospital.

“We managed to get ahold of the mom. The mom was not aware of this. She was a sweet lady, very worried, and concerned about her daughter,” said Rivas.

The government in Peru recently enforced a mandatory country-wide quarantine to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

“After 8 o’clock you’re not allowed to be in the streets because the military and the police will take you and put you in jail so that’s the big situation about Peru it’s a big lockdown,” described Rivas.

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READ MORE: Canada to send flights to Peru, Spain to help citizens stranded by COVID-19: Trudeau

She has been in regular contact with the woman’s family in Port Hope who is arranging to bring their daughter home.

On Facebook, the family posted that the Canadian embassy advised she tested negative for COVID-19. But they are not commenting publicly.

“She said, ‘Thank you so much,’ that her daughter is coming today at midnight and they have to purchase a ticket for her to come to Canada. So I feel good about it,” said Rivas.