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COVID-19: S. Africans stuck abroad speak out

According to the Department of International Relations and Cooperation, more than 1,470 South Africans are stuck in a number of countries as a result of coronavirus regulations.

International Relations and Cooperation Minister Naledi Pandor on 18 November 2019. Picture: @DIRCO_ZA/Twitter.

CAPE TOWN - South Africans stuck abroad are hoping government interventions will allow them to return home soon.

According to the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco), more than 1,470 South Africans are stuck in a number of countries as a result of coronavirus (COVID-19) regulations.

These included students, people working abroad, and tourists.

Allan Huysamen and Allister Nunn are stranded at Malaysia’s Kuala Lumpur International Airport. They are hoping to return as soon as South Africa’s lockdown is lifted, which is affecting airports operations and flight movements.

“What we are expecting is that once these directives are lifted, we will be able to get home and hopefully using our existing tickets that we were not allowed to use.”

Jason Dimio, who is stuck in Bali, said they needed clarity on the process to return home.

“We’ve created a group in Bali on WhatsApp, where we have 83 people and those people that have attempted to contact the embassy, there’s been a low response rate from the Jakarta embassy,” Dimio said.

Candice Smithie is also battling to get out of Indonesia, saying they were supposed to fly home after her fiancé lost his job as a gym instructor.

“We’re the lucky ones that have rent until the middle of the month, but others that are stuck in hotels are facing maybe being thrown into the streets,” Smithie said.

Dirco said it would prioritise assisting citizens stranded at airports.

For official information about COVID-19 from the Department of Health, please click here.