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South Africa’s Lockdown Leaves Couple Stranded on Honeymoon

Olivia and Raul De Freitas are currently on their honeymoon, at a five-star resort, in the Maldives. The couple arrived just married from South Africa, where they are citizens, on Sunday, March 22, planning to stay for six days. Still, they had some concerns about the trip, considering the mounting travel restrictions imposed in light of the new coronavirus outbreak around the world. But nothing specific that would affect them had been announced, and their travel agent assured them that, whatever policy was forthcoming, all South African citizens would be allowed back home. Go ahead and have a great time, they were told.  By Wednesday, they received notice that their country’s airports would all be closed by midnight Thursday. Flights back to South Africa are five hours to Doha, Qatar, a three-hour layover, and then nine hours to Johannesburg — so even if they scrambled, and even if they could get a flight, the complexities of leaving their remote island ensured they’d never make it home in time. By Sunday March 29, they were the only guests at their resort. On Sunday, April 5, the couple received a WhatsApp from their embassy telling them to be ready in an hour. They were taken by speedboat to another five-star resort, where South Africans in the Maldives, about two dozen in all, are being consolidated.

SOURCE: THE NEW YORK TIMES

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