A UNIVERSITY graduate who was stranded abroad in the midst of the coronavirus crisis, has returned to the region.

Tess Bettison from Bowes, in Teesdale, began her travels on February 1, with a friend she met studying at the University of Birmingham.

The 22-year-old wanted to explore the world before trying to find a career in media and communications in Manchester.

Miss Bettison and her friend Stevie Chandler had been to Argentina, Chile, and Bolivia as part of their five month adventure before being quarantined in Peru last week.

The Northern Echo:

Miss Bettison was able to book flights from Cusco to Bogota and then on to Heathrow but after one of the flights was cancelled she was stuck.

She and Miss Chandler were held in the Wild Rover Cusco, a hostel in south eastern Peru, near the Urubamba Valley of the Andes mountain range.

They were among about 140 tourists stranded in the hostel following the closure of Peru’s borders and airports.

Miss Bettison’s parents Mike and Rosie spoke to The Northern Echo last week calling for help to bring their daughter home.

Mrs Bettison said: “Tess’ spirits are reasonable considering what has happened but as parents it is worrying.

"We know she feels safe in the hostel and has food and soap but we feel powerless as haven’t been given any direction by any of the authorities. We have no idea how long it will be until she comes home.”

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has now chartered three British Airways flights to help hundreds of British tourists in Peru return to the UK.

The 22-year-old arrived back to the region on one of the flights on Monday to the relief of her family.

Mrs Bettison added: “Tess arrived safely back in Heathrow from Lima on Monday morning, after an internal transfer from Cusco to Lima. Finally, such a relief.

“The final few days in Cusco were very stressful for Tess and for all her family and friends.

“She arrived at Darlington station yesterday afternoon and is now installed in a local holiday cottage to sit out her 14 days in quarantine.

“We are so mindful of all the thousands of individuals and families who must be in a similar situation. And those who have health issues to worry about. We can only send all of them every good wish.”