SAA
SAA. Image source: ASATA

Efforts to ensure the repatriation of South Africans stranded abroad are continuing, the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) said on Saturday.

“Negotiations are ongoing with countries and other stakeholders to allow stranded South Africans to travel,” said the department in a statement.

The department has assured South Africans stranded abroad that no effort will be spared to ensure their repatriation amidst the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Efforts to repatriate citizens are constrained by regulations introduced to limit the movement of people globally in a bid to curb the spread of the virus.

“Many countries across the world have instituted lockdowns to curb the spread of COVID-19,” said DIRCO.

Meanwhile, two South African Airways (SAA) flights are set to depart to Frankfurt today.

A total of 305 of South African nationals – from various European countries – will be repatriated on one flight.

A second flight will be diverted to Egypt to pick up 34 South Africans stranded in that country.

“We deeply empathise with all who are still stranded abroad, including in Peru, Indonesia, Thailand and other countries. We would like to make an appeal for everyone to remain patient, as we explore options on how to bring them back home,” said the department.

Despite regulations introduced by many countries across the globe, South Africa has successfully repatriated citizens from countries including Brazil, the United States of America, Italy, Germany, the United Kingdom, the Maldives, Nigeria and Namibia.

Meanwhile, a group of 80 South Africans, who were repatriated from Rome in Italy, arrived on home soil today.

“In line with the regulations, they have all been transferred to various quarantine sites in Gauteng,” said the department.

To date, the department has assisted with the repatriation of over 600 South Africans; this excludes the hundreds who entered the country through land borders.

For more information, citizens can contact DIRCO’s 24-hour command centre by phone on +27 12 351 1754 or +27 12 351 1756. Contact can also be made by email on Cicc1@dirco.gov.za  and Cicc2@dirco.gov.za. – SAnews.gov.za

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