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Dirco: Over 3,000 S. Africans stuck abroad want to come home

Officials said they would assist and prioritise people stuck at airports, students, the elderly and the sick.

Allister Nunn (left) and Allan Huysamen (right) are two South Africans who are stranded at Malaysia's Kuala Lumpur International Airport after the country went into lockdown to stop COVID-19 from spreading. Picture: Supplied.

CAPE TOWN – The Department of International Relations and Corporation (Dirco) on Wednesday said at least 3,600 South Africans had approached embassies seeking assistance to come home.

When countries introduced lockdown regulations to flatten the curve of the COVID-19 infection rate, many travellers could not return home.

Officials said they would assist and prioritise people stuck at airports, students, the elderly and the sick.

Dirco has set up a 24-hour command centre to assist South Africans wishing to come back home.

South Africans stranded in Dubai and Doha have already been repatriated.

Ministerial spokesperson Lunga Ngqengelele said they were also making arrangements with people who had return flight tickets, but were now stranded.

“We are focusing on using the flights that are transporting people who are from other countries and are in South Africa, and on their return to South Africa we are negotiating with South African Airways and agencies to fetch those people who are stranded at airports and other areas.”

Ngqelele said some citizens were in Europe, the US, Indonesia and Malaysia.

Last week, Germany started repatriating citizens from South Africa.

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

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