A Kelowna man says he was stranded in Cancun, Mexico for six days after he tested positive for COVID-19 on his return trip.
Chris Loewen is fully vaccinated and he told Castanet he met about 20 family members from different parts of the world in Cancun in early January and said everything was going great until his COVID-19 test came back positive.
"What was shocking to me was the complete ineptitude of the Canadian government," he said.
Loewen tried to fly back to Canada on Jan. 9 but a positive COVID-19 test grounded him.
"I couldn't get on the plane," Loewen said.
Fortunately, he purchased COVID-19 insurance so he had money, but trying to get home became a challenge.
"What was shocking to me was the complete incompetence of the Canadian government. They had no clue," Loewen said.
He spent hours on the phone trying to determine how long he would have to quarantine before he was cleared to fly home but couldn't get a straight answer.
"Once I got the positive test it was like, all right how long do I have to stay here?"
Because of the timing, and the changes to Canada's quarantine policy to 10 days from 14 days, Loewen said was difficult to get consensus between the government and the airlines.
"Eventually I just went to the airport and asked a ticket agent and they said nobody at the (Cancun) airport can book a flight for you," said Loewen.
"I found a guy working on his computer and I asked if he could help me book a flight."
After about an hour and half, Loewen said he managed to book his flight for Jan. 15.
Even then, Loewen said he held his breath every time he had to show his test results at the airport in case there was another discrepancy about the amount of time he was supposed to quarantine.
"I know these are First World problems but I thought people in Kelowna would want to know. If you book a trip to Mexico (or anywhere in the world) be prepared to wait," Loewen said.
One positive for Loewen and others who test positive for COVID-19 is the Canadian government allows citizens to return without re-testing if they have a positive PCR test that’s between 11 and 180 days old.