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South Africa Issues Coronavirus Lockdown Flight Directives

South African Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula on Tuesday announced specific directives to be implemented during South Africa’s 21-day Covid-19 lockdown.  

He said all international and domestic passenger flights were still prohibited, irrespective of the risk category of the country of origin. Exceptions would be granted by his ministry for flights used to evacuate South African citizens from foreign countries. 

Mbalula said the repatriation of foreign nationals from South Africa to their respective countries was allowed, provided that the countries chartered the flights. Only crew would be allowed on the flights, and they would not be allowed to disembark in South Africa. 

South African citizens who wanted to return home would be allowed to do so, provided that they had a fully paid return ticket. Upon arrival, said Mbalula, the citizens would be subjected to mandatory quarantine for a period of up to 21 days. The crew would be allowed to disembark subjected to mandatory quarantine.

“We cater for South Africans who want to come back home, who are stranded, and are assisted by the airline to come back home,” he said.

Medical evacuation flights would be allowed, but only of patients and crew. Quarantine regulations would also apply to the patients and crew. 

Technical landing flights would be allowed on condition that no passengers disembarked.

International relations and cooperation minister Naledi Pandor said there were about 1471 South Africans stranded in various countries. 

“Of this number, 723 are students, 204 are persons who work or are employed in countries overseas, 224 are tourists, and 320 have not told us what status they have, but they indicated they wish to return…. We believe there are more people who need assistance,” she said.

South Africa currently has 1326 Covid-19 infections. Three deaths have been recorded, and 31 people have recovered from the virus.