Travelling family ‘stuck’ on a Mediterranean island due to Covid-19


By AGENCY
  • Global
  • Monday, 04 May 2020

The southern Tunisian resort island of Djerba, where the Laurents (riding camels) are currently staying, is usually a major tourist draw in the country. — AFP Relaxnews

As the novel coronavirus stops globetrotters and other adventure travellers in their tracks, one French family of nomads is waiting out the lockdown on a Tunisian island in the Mediterranean.

Bastien and Audrey Laurent, together with their two children, aged seven and nine, sold up their possessions and have been on the road since 2017.

Now, they don’t know when they’ll be able to leave the southern Tunisian resort island of Djerba. The family rented a house a few days before Tunisia imposed travel restrictions on March 22 in a bid to slow the spread of the virus.

Tourists have left Djerba and home comforts are basic, but to compensate, the turquoise waters of the Mediterranean extend as far as the eye can see.

“It’s magnificent. Honestly, there’s nothing to complain about,” Audrey said.

As the novel coronavirus began to emerge in Europe, the Laurents were visiting the North African country at their own pace, from the hot springs of the coastal town of Korbous to the wild beaches of the Kerkennah islands and the gateway to the Sahara.

They arrived in Tunisia in mid-January after travelling through Italy. “It was still at the very start of the epidemic,” Audrey said.

But as the virus spread, measures started to get stricter: Tunisian authorities halted maritime passenger arrivals, banned prayers in mosques and imposed a quarantine period on all those who had recently arrived from abroad.

Tunisia has officially declared over 600 positive Covid-19 cases, including 25 deaths, since reporting its first case at the beginning of March.

“We decided to stop (travelling) before the government imposed a lockdown,” Audrey said, adding that the family didn’t want to run the risk of being asymptomatic carriers of the virus and spreading it to remote areas.

“We are the first to extol the virtues of travel but you have to know (when) to stop,” she added. They decided to go back to Djerba and wait it out there, even as thousands of foreigners in Tunisia took repatriation flights home. Others are still trying to leave.

The adventure-hungry family is far from alone – across the world, travellers who would usually be sharing updates on social media have seen their trips grind to a halt. Some are trying to assist fellow nomads, with one pair in Europe helping travellers stranded in caravans find a place to settle temporarily.

But for those like the Laurents, who earn money from the sale of photos, videos and articles from their journeys, the pandemic has disrupted more than just their itinerary.

“The nomadic way of life is going to get complicated, including economically,” Audrey said. – AFP Relaxnews

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 1
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3
Subscribe now to our Premium Plan for an ad-free and unlimited reading experience!
   

Next In Travel

Malaysian women moved by war memorial in Sabah
Finding a solution to the ever-shrinking air plane seat
A side of Bali that's perfect for Malaysians looking for some peace and quiet
Ageing Hollywood sign is getting a facelift
Visa-free travel for foreign tourists visiting Japan from Oct 11
How safe is air travel? Over 21 million flights took off last year, with one fatal accident
'Slum tourism' continues to find a market among visitors
Busan puts money on BTS, ARMY to win World Expo 2023 bid
Malaysian tour leader climbs Mount Fuji for the first time
17 houses of worship in Malaysia you should visit

Others Also Read