Stuck in quarantine: Blanco County man stranded in Portugal after contracting COVID-19

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AUSTIN (KXAN) —A trip abroad is supposed to be an enjoyable experience, but what happens if you get COVID-19?

When Peter Barbour caught the travel bug he decided Portugal would be the perfect destination, but when he caught COVID-19 on that trip, he was stranded.

“They put me up in a beautiful hotel. It was called the Villa Gale,” Barbour said. “I was on the 16th floor. A beautiful view of West Porto and the Atlantic Ocean. The sun would set every day outside my window, but after eight days of that — sorta got old.”

On Barbour’s last day in Portugal, he had to get tested for COVID-19 before he returned home to Texas. He took the test and waited for the results.

“I got a phone call that said ‘You can’t come on the excursion this morning. You have to stay in your room. You tested positive,’” Barbour said.

He was forced to quarantine for 11 days.

Peter says his insurance company called a taxi to pick him up and checked him into a hotel. His bags were sanitized and transported as well. For 11 days he was unable to leave his room.

“This insurance covered the entire stay in the hotel every night and three meals a day,” said Barbour, who said he never experienced any COVID-19 symptoms. “I was walking in a circle 10 feet in diameter eating these three meals a day. I probably gained 10 pounds.”

Cristina Herrera runs Travel Muse, a travel agency in Austin. She says getting travel insurance is important especially during the pandemic. If you don’t get it, you could be paying a lot more than you planned, especially if you have to quarantine or if you have to go to the hospital.

“That is a really cautious and smart thing to do is to buy travel insurance and to make sure it has some coverage or expenses if quarantine comes up,” Herrera said.

“There is a lot more preparation involved because every country has their own requirements as far as COVID and you have to test to come back into the United States,” Herrera said.

Peter says he never showed any COVID-19 symptoms.

Peter was hoping to get back to the US to finish his book “Charles Dickens’ American Road Show: Based on the journal and letters of William Nathanial Price.” He says although he had to quarantine, once he got back he was able to start working on his book once again.

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