The government is working very hard to bring home the more than 3,600 citizens stranded in various countries worldwide due to the coronavirus pandemic, says Dr. Naledi Pandor, Minister of International Relations and Cooperation.
On Thursday, in a poll conducted by her department, she said the restriction regulations in force in most of these countries complicate matters. However, the government has already managed to bring back 600 stranded South Africans abroad.
Pandor also made it clear that everyone who is brought back must spend quarantine in South Africa for 14 days before being allowed to return to their families. Those who refuse it will not be helped.
According to Pandor, many South Africans were also brought back from neighboring countries such as Namibia, Botswana or Lesotho. “Sometimes it was up to between 150 and 200 people a day. There were delays in border posts because we first had to make sure that the people were indeed South African citizens. “
She says the same verification process also applies to South Africans stranded in other overseas countries.
“However, I am delighted that we were able to bring back some 60 people from Brazil earlier this week.
“Yesterday (Wednesday) about 300 people also arrived from Miami in America in South Africa.”
She said the department had a list of all stranded and South Africans were still expected back in the country on Thursday.
“We are slowly but surely reducing the 3,639 beaches.
“However, there are countries where we have problems with the repatriation of citizens, such as Thailand.
“We are also just waiting for Pakistan to give us permission to bring about 84 South Africans back on a rental flight. We hope this happens in the next day or two. “
Plans are also being made to bring back more stranded from New York and other US cities.
“It should be remembered that all these countries have a state of restriction. That’s why it’s not just a case of saying I want to come back and then it can happen tomorrow. We first have to negotiate. ”
According to her, overseas countries are also requested to ensure that they do not return South African citizens tested positive for the coronavirus.
“Unfortunately we had a case where one of the returnees was infected and we were not informed about it in advance. That person then lit a number of others in the group. They are under quarantine and are being treated. “
However, people who have the virus among members do not immediately show symptoms. According to her, they work closely with the Department of Health on the correct procedures and preventative measures for all returnees and staff of the South African Airlines charter flights.