WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — Time and money are what a Wichita woman claims to have lost thanks to a COVID-19 testing nightmare. A nightmare that lasted for days as she traveled abroad and back.
Audrey Korte is a graduate student at Wichita State University who traveled to Sierra Leone a few weeks ago for a fellowship. The trip to West Africa was delayed by four days, mainly because of the speed of the COVID-19 testing, or rather the lack of it, and the problems continued on her way back.
“I spent the night at the Wichita airport, got up the next morning and finally got on my flight. I arrived in Freetown around 7:55 PM,” explains Korte.
After landing in Sierra Leone on Nov. 21, Korte says she was missing luggage and needed more testing: “I had to undergo two rapid COVID tests at the Freetown airport. For people who haven’t traveled to the developing world, you walk always running into logistical issues. So that one group of people from one plane tested lasted five hours.”
Coming back to the US after her trip was also an adventure. But alas, when she finally left Africa, she ran into another roadblock in Belgium.
“I had to figure out a way to get a COVID test in Brussels in about five hours. I found a security guard with whom I could explain the situation. Without the people who tried to help me, who really tried their best, I really think I was stuck in Brussels now.”
Now, finally, back at her home in Wichita, Korte says that if you’re thinking about traveling abroad, be prepared for all sorts of delays.
“If you have an event where you have to be on Thursday, I would leave by Sunday at the latest. Just understand that we are not there yet. Nobody knows what they are doing, and be patient with people.”
Korte says she spent more than $1,000 on rebookings and COVID-19 testing costs, not to mention waiting 100 hours at airports. As a result, she says she doesn’t tend to travel outside the US anytime soon.