tonight, lovers torn apart by the pandemic. an expectant mother going into labor alone. her foreign fiance stranded overseas. >> i would have loved to be there. just hold her hand or talk her through it, give her encouragement. >> travel restrictions forcing the expectant dad to just watch and wait. >> i'm just playing sean can get here and we can be a family. plus, long-distance longing. couples half a world away taking extreme measures to reunite. >> you don't know when you're going to see your partner next, when you haven't seen them in five months. i think you'd be ready to do a lot of things you wouldn't do otherwise. >> "nightline," "love under lockdown," will be right back.
♪ merry christmas. thanks for joining us. countries around the world renewing travel crackdowns, trying to limit the spread avenue variant of covid-19. tonight we revisit couples divided by the coronavirus, kept worlds apart by the global health emergency, and their love put to the ultimate test. here's abc's maggie rulli.
>> hey, babe. i actually just spoke to the lawyer. good news. she says we should be good to go with everything. that's good. >> hey, babe, it's me. i want to let you know i'm thinking of you all the time, and i'm so proud of you. everything you're doing for me and the baby is amazing. >> i'm just looking forward now to seeing you, so just give me a call whenever you can. i love you. >> i just love you and can't wait to see you. good night. >> corsi didn't think she'd be in labor, racing to the hospital, like this. >> oh! >> it's terrifying and isolating. >> my water has broke. oh, i'm so cold. i keep like getting the shakes. >> her fiance, shaun donovan, is trapped thousands of miles away, banned from traveling to the united states thanks to covid-19. >> i'm so nervous. >> in the modern world,
increasingly interconnected, relationships are no longer bound by borders. but as coronavirus swept the globe, governments around the world invoked travel restrictions, separate iing binational families and couples, leaving them in limbo, not knowing the next time they'll be able to see each other. last february america began to close its doors to traveling visitors from growing nations. >> at the beginning i think most people wouldn't argue with the fact that there needed to be some type of system in place to try to contain the spread of covid-19. but the impact, the ripple effect, has just gotten out of control, okay? and it's gotten out of control because of the unintended consequences. >> reporter: as couples wait for answers, thousands are taking to social media, pushing for action with campaigns like "love is not tourism" and "love is essential," making the case that we are not tourists, we do not wish to travel and sight see, we
have one destination, the arms of our loved ones. >> we are in the middle of a pandemic, so i actually understand the travel bans. tourism isn't necessary right now. gut love is not tourism. you've got a group of people who are willing to quarantine upon arrival. you've got people who are willing to present negative covid tests at the gate. and do temperature checks at the date. they're willing to follow every cdc guideline that has been suggested thus far. >> reporter: facebook groups have now become a safe space for lovers around the world to offer support and guidance as they navigate new roadblocks to their long distance relationships. >> what is it, 4,000 miles away? >> i know, i miss you. >> reporter: for corsi and sean, this struggle has been going on for months. >> we never went six weeks or so without seeing each other. i didn't start to panic until mid to end of april.
>> reporter: that left correspocorsi in texas going through nearly all her pregnancy alone. >> he always doted on the fact that he would have loved to take care of me during this time. i feel he's missing out on so mitch. >> reporter: the dad to be stuck in ireland. sean had killed out his visa application known as a fiance visa, but it was at a standstill since processing has been put on hold due to the pandemic. corsi says she should have been married by now, under normal circumstances. >> even in the best of times, even in the best of situations, it's extremely difficult. then you add the layer of the covid-19 restrictions, and it's amplified. >> and this is the nursery. it's just a little corner of the room. all of those little swaddles are down there. all of his diapers and a picture of daddy right there.
>> reporter: time ticks by. days turning to weeks. weeks turning to months. >> the stress, the depression, the anxiety. i just know if sean would have been here that whole time, i could have avoided months' worth of emotional turmoil. >> reporter: a poll shows nearly half of americans report covid-19 is harming their mental health. the cdc has issued guidance on coping with stress during the pandemic. >> there's so much pressure and pain in my back and my groin area. and i just don't think people understand just how hard it can be. >> reporter: with corsi so close to her due date, the mental and physical strain is starting to add up. >> it's any day now. i can't believe i made it this far without sean. >> reporter: while thousands of separated couples are desperately awaiting reunions inside the u.s., others are losing hope and patience.
some are meeting up on the border of the u.s. and canada in a park that's shared territory. >> this is it, guys. this is peace arch park for you. home away from home. >> it looks like everyone here is having a really nice time with their loved ones and family and friends. >> reporter: other couples stuck oceans apart are embarking on more extreme journeys. with much of the world still shuttered, croatia has emerged as a tourist destination, welcoming visitors into the country if they can show proof of a negative covid test. >> going to get a covid test, it's going to be loads of fun. >> reporter: i travelled there and met couples using croatia as a safe haven. >> i think they're realizing that a lot of people aren't traveling to galavant. we're not traveling to galavant, we're traveling because this is the only way we can see each other. >> reporter: kate is a u.s. citizen. her boyfriend, charles, lives in the czech republic. >> did you ever think when you separated that, we won't be able to see each other for three months and not know where to
move? >> i thought, maybe it won't be that long, i'm sure it will all work out. but there was really -- it was looking like there was very little hope. >> reporter: the pair planned to move to europe together, but that was put on hold. >> did you ever feel helpless? >> yeah, absolutely. >> oh, all the time. >> reporter: another couple, joshua from philadelphia and naomi from slovenia, had plans to marry when the pandemic hit. determined to walk down the aisle, they booked their flight to croatia. >> it's important for us to not put anyone in jeopardy of this pandemic, so that's why we decided to go ahead and make it a small, tight circle. just family. >> do you, josef johnson, agree to marry naomi -- >> yes, i do. >> reporter: with only the bride's parents and best man in attendance, they tied the knot. >> congratulations. >> reporter: a growing number of countries are starting to hear their cries. july 27th, the netherlands joined the list, welcoming partners that can prove they're
in a long-term relationship with a dutch citizen. >> it is essentially a documentary on what my relationship looks like from start to finish. >> reporter: anna sabrina prepared a five-pound binder to verify her relationship. >> i was about to have a panic attack, standing there, waiting for this guy to decide whether or not i'm eligible to travel. >> reporter: she got on a plane on the very first day is exemption went into effect after 11 months away from her partner, chris. >> she just called me, and she ended my nervous breakdown by telling me the good news. >> i haven't seen him in 11 months. i'm so excited. >> the plane landed just now. now just going to wait for hanna to walk through these gates. >> i'm so happy! >> we made it! >> reporter: despite their happy reunion, hanna says governments
have to do better. >> it's kind of a blow to all the people who are not married, because their relationships are basically being classified as "less than." tourism. >> reporter: sometimes being with the one you love means bending the rules. >> it's 6:00 a.m. time to go to mexico, i guess. >> reporter: when we come back, couples finding loopholes in those travel bans. >> all right, this is the moment of truth. i hope it goes well. i'm going to have to go through customs. >> reporter: plus sean in a race against time to reach the u.s., as corresposi faces an emergenc delivery. >> the phone is shaking because i can't stop -- i'm freezing. i'm so nervous. so, what should we do today? ♪ wow. can we get some sun? ♪
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♪ emily and her girlfriend emmy yeah's love story has spanned continents. emily is from paris. emlegally that lives in san francisco. >> i met up with emily in ireland where her grandparents live. and was in paris. then she was set to come back here in late march. and that never happened. >> yeah, never happened. >> reporter: when covid-19 hit, they weren't ready for countries to close borders and ban travel. the united states doesn't allow foreign visitors to fly in directly from the european union or other parts of the world, like china, where infection rates have been high. >> she was asleep when the news hit. so i had to wait a few hours before talking to her about it.
>> for some reason, it didn't feel like an emergency. then it just kept going on and on and on and on. we didn't know when it was going to end. there's something about going through such a hard time and not be able to be there, and you kind of realize that there's a limit to what words can do. >> reporter: after six months, being forced to connect only virtually, the young couple had enough. >> all right, it's 6:00 a.m. time to go to mexico, i guess. >> reporter: now emily's emba embarking on a long roundabout journey from france to california. >> that's if they let me in, we'll see. >> reporter: emily learned through a facebook group about other people successfully traveling to mexico in order to get into the u.s. >> we create a big group chat because we're all taking the same flight to cancun. >> reporter: multiple buses and planes just to get to mexico, where emily will have to quarantine for 15 days. only at that point can she try to fly to california.
there is currently no option to drive across the border. >> so it's official. i made it to cancun, mexico. >> so the travel ban essentially has forced people to rethink how they're going to be able to be reunited. even though at first they may have had the process in mind and they were supposed to go along smoothly, now they have to think outside the box. do they need a visitor visa? should they go to a different country? >> reporter: emily made to it mexico, staying in the tourism mecca of cancun, a city nearly brought to its knees by the stop in travel. >> this is the dorm. we have lockers here. all the top bunks are closed down. and we share a bathroom. and we share a shower. probably every other person i meet here is here doing the exact same thing as i am. >> reporter: emily wishes there was an easier and safer way to reunite. mexico now has the highest
covid-19 mortality rate in the world. >> currently everyone is supposed to be wearing a mask, even in the car. >> reporter: emily says these travel bans end up putting people at an even higher risk. they need to be revised. >> i can see how people who see us do this, travel to mexico, take planes, share a dorm, share a shower, might think that we're being pretty irresponsible in the time of a pandemic. and i don't disagree with that, it's risky. but when you don't know when you're going to see your partner next, i think you'd be ready to do a lot of things that you wouldn't do otherwise. >> reporter: after 15 days in mexico, she finally lands in san francisco. >> this is the moment of truth. i hope it goes well. i'm going to have to go through customs. i'll let you know. >> reporter: now just a short walk away. amelia is waiting anxiously.
45 minutes later -- the face she's been waiting to see. >> it's so hard to wait. >> you're out now. >> we kind of made the promise to each other we weren't going to let this happen again, and that if we'd be reunited, we'd stay together. >> reporter: the pair head home together. for the first time in half a year. down in texas, corsi is waiting for a reunion just like that with her fiance, sean. but it turns out there was no way for him to make it before the baby comes. >> like the one i just had, that was pretty gnarly. >> reporter: the u.s. does allow for some exemptions to the travel ban, including parents. but sean doesn't technically qualify as a parent until the child is born. that means he'll have to watch
corsi deliver their son over facetime. >> he's six hours ahead of me. but he's been so supportive, and so has his family. you know, just on facetime. the phone. oh my god, the phone is shaking because i can't stop -- i'm freezing. i'm so nervous. i'm so nervous. >> i would have loved to be there. just hold her hand, talk her through it, give her encouragement. >> reporter: corsi labored for a grueling 24 hours. eventually the doctor makes the call. an emergency c-section. >> i just remember just really wishing that sean could be there for that, because i needed him. and it was -- it was terrifying. >> it was terrifying for me, as well. and watching her have the c-section, and then she was -- she was exhausted after it, and she actually passed out after
it, after the baby was delivered. so i could hear the baby crying, and then the doctors kind of just shut off the laugh top. hours had passed before i knew if corsi was okay, and i didn't know where my son was. >> say hi, daddy, we love you and we miss you. so i'm just praying that sean can get here and we can be a family. >> reporter: now officially a father, sean finally jumped a flight to america. just a day later, he met baby taos for the first time. >> i just walked in, seeing corsi's face, we both just broke down crying. it was just perfect, one of the best feelings i've ever experienced in my life. >> corsi and sean realize they're the luxy ones. many, maybe most, separated couples are still stuck in different locations. >> we've been robbed of something we're never getting back. it should be family over politics. family is essential. >> reporter: they know in the
end, love wins. even this reunion is temporary. sean will have to go back to ireland eventually. until they can officially get a visa. >> we just want to enjoy this moment together. >> i am not being separated from my family. i will fight as hard as i have to fight. keeping us all three together, nothing else matters. did you know the source of odor in your home... ...could be all your soft surfaces? odors get trapped in your home's fabrics and resurface over time. febreze fabric refresher eliminates odors. its water-based formula safely penetrates fabrics where odors hide. spray it on your rugs, your curtains, your furniture, all over your home to make it part of your tidying up routine. febreze fabric refresher, for an all-over freshness you'll love.
♪ we have this update since our story first aired in august. emily and amelia are now living in bourdeaux, france, where amelia is studying wine on a student visa. corsi and baby taos were able to fly to ireland with sean for a visit and today celebrated their first christmas as a family. that's "nightline" for tonight. watch our full episodes on hulu. thanks for staying up with us. good night, america, and merry christmas.