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US joins Germany in repatriation plans for citizens in SA

2020-03-31 16:39

Preparations to repatriate US and German citizens are under way as the number of Covid-19 coronavirus cases continues to rise in South Africa.

On Monday, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced an increase of confirmed cases from 1 280 to 1 326, with a death toll of three.

The US embassy in South Africa urged its citizens who wished to return home to reach out to it.

This entails filling out a form detailing their location and personal details.

“We want to ensure that if an opportunity to return is presented, we have as complete a database as possible.

“Once specific flight details are confirmed, US citizens need to make their own way to OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, Cape Town International Airport, as well as King Shaka International Airport in Durban,” the embassy said.

It is currently not clear how many US citizens are in South Africa.

The US has the highest number of Covid-19 cases in the world, reaching 160 700 positive cases and more than 3 000 deaths.

Once specific flight details are confirmed, US citizens need to make their own way to OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, Cape Town International Airport, as well as King Shaka International Airport in Durban

Last week, Ramaphosa announced that South Africa would be placed on a 21-day lockdown. This meant that all borders would be closed and a travel ban imposed, except for the import/export of essential goods and services.

In his address to the nation on Monday, Ramaphosa said the lockdown was the correct decision as advised by experts.

“Our scientists and experts have said that the decision to lock down the country is the correct one. Without quick action, South Africa would have been in a similar situation as countries that have been adversely affected by this virus,” he said.

Germany

With flights grounded, tourists have been filled with anxiety.

On Monday, German Ambassador to South Africa Martin Schäfer said that although the lockdown presented a logistical challenge, he believed that Germany would get its citizens home.

Citizens who were already in quarantine and those who were presenting with Covid-19 symptoms would have to first finish their treatment in South Africa.
Martin Schäfer, German Ambassador to South Africa

There are more than 9 000 German citizens in South Africa, 47 of whom are currently in quarantine.

Schäfer told City Press that the embattled SAA would be providing special flights to repatriate passengers to Germany.

“SAA is willing to provide special flights to repatriate our citizens, and we are relying on the SA government to assist us with getting our citizens to the airport,” said Schäfer.

However, Schäfer said that citizens who were already in quarantine and those who were presenting with Covid-19 symptoms would have to first finish their treatment in South Africa.

Germany has 67 051 confirmed cases and 650 deaths from Covid-19.

Ramaphosa said more than 700 000 people across the globe had been infected with the virus, with 35 000 people dead as a result.


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May 31 2020