BA to resume flights to SA but Mauritius sanction strands holidaymakers
The department of international relations and co-operation has confirmed that there are South Africans stranded at the Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport (SSR) in Mauritius.
This as international countries have begun tightening their borders after news of a new Covid-19 variant, Omicron, which was detected in SA.
Taking to its Twitter page, Dirco said the group of South Africans were informed about “impromptu quarantine requirements instead of self-isolation”.
“The SA government is dismayed at this situation and is engaging with relevant authorities in Mauritius for a speedy resolution. The matter is being investigated further and assistance is being provided to our citizens through the SA High Commission in Mauritius,” Dirco said in a statement.
Dirco spokesperson, Clayson Monyela, suggested that it may take two days to resolve the situation.
On Saturday, the MyMauritius site reported the government had issued an alert that inbound flights from SA would be cancelled, in light of the latest available scientific data about the further spread of the new variant.
“This decision is to ensure the further safety of Mauritius’ citizens, residents and visitors.
“Passengers arriving on MK852 from Johannesburg to Mauritius on Saturday November 27 will be subject to additional health screening. In addition to PCR tests done at arrival in Mauritius, passengers will have to observe an in-room, hotel quarantine period of at least 7 days.
“Air Mauritius will be providing one outbound flight from Mauritius to Johannesburg on Sunday November 28. Restrictions on inbound flights from SA, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Namibia and Eswatini are in place until further notice. Cargo flights will continue until further notice.”
Repatriation flights for Mauritian citizens, residents and occupational permit holders will be organised through the ministry of foreign affairs, it added.
A spokesperson for the Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority was quoted as saying: “We acknowledge the significant disruption which result from such measures, particularly for the 176 passengers who arrived on MK852 on November 27 2021, but they are essential to ensure the health and wellness of all. The passengers involved are being given all possible support in these difficult times for all.”
Meanwhile Monyela said information had been received from the UK High Commission saying British Airways will resume direct flights to SA from Tuesday.
The airline will provide one daily flight to Cape Town and Johannesburg.
He said Virgin Airlines, which flew three times a week to Johannesburg, had not yet grounded their flights.