Travellers Jump Hoops To Leave S.Africa As Covid Variant Hits

Travellers jump hoops to leave S.Africa as Covid variant hits

Eyes welling up with frustration and relief, Belgian Valerie Leduc and a friend walked from a ticket counter at Johannesburg international airport having secured a flight seat home via Ethiopia

Johannesburg, (APP - UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 27th Nov, 2021 ) :Eyes welling up with frustration and relief, Belgian Valerie Leduc and a friend walked from a ticket counter at Johannesburg international airport having secured a flight seat home via Ethiopia.

But they will only be flying out in three days time.

"We were feeling like we have committed a crime," said the 30-year-old Antwerp resident, rejected from her original flight home via Zurich after Switzerland shut it doors to all non-citizens coming from South Africa.

Their new tickets cost them 1,000 Euros ($1,130) each.

Leduc and her friend Sander Verstraelen, later sat down in a cafe reflecting on the previous 24 hours.

Travellers left stranded after a slew of countries banned flights from South Africa on Friday, amid concerns about a new coronavirus variant ,are jumping through hoops to leave.

They filled airport cafes on Saturday, sipping cappuccinos, while frantically phoning their embassies and travel agents.

Groups of strangers shared stories and power plugs.

Many are seeking tickets to fly via other African nations such as Ethiopia and the Democratic Republic of Congo -- which have not yet blacklisted South Africa -- while navigating complex last-minute Covid-19 testing requirements.

Several Europeans waited in a long check-in queue for an afternoon flight to Addis Ababa.

"We first tried to change our original flight but this wasn't possible at all," said Laura Herde, a 25-year-old student from Berlin just about to start a hiking trip with friends when the travel bans hit.

"There was no room on any of the flights so we needed to book a new one," she told AFP.

"We took the first one available."