Omicron Prisoner in South Africa, Turning Point: Return on Military Trip

Florence, November 28, 2021 – Alone, with her elderly mother and her brother’s ashes in an urn. Three days ago, two women from Florence live a real journey in South Africa Affected by the Covid Omicron variant. After being refused a flight home, the pain is over thanks to the Italian embassy making a military flight available to its citizens deployed in the Boer land that will land on Tuesday at Pratica di Mare near Rome.

Sarah kobeti, 42-year-old Viaregina, lives in Regnano Solarno (Florence), where she works as an accountant for her husband Marco’s company. On November 16 I left for Johannesburg with my mother Italy “ya” losa83-year-old Florentine, to fetch the remains of her brother Berpaolo, who died suddenly at the age of 53. For decades he has been teaching communication at the University of South Africa’s capital. “My mother – says Sarah – wanted to come with me, to be able to say goodbye to her son for the last time”.

Johannesburg Airport, and in the paintings, Lea Lusa and Sarah Kopete

Repatriation procedures turned out to be more complex and time-consuming than expected. And when it was time to leave, flights were blocked due to the Omicron variant. “We had reservations with Swiss Air to Zurich, then to Peretola, but when the health alert went off, the company decided to board only the Swiss plane. All flights to Italy have been cancelled.” Sarah is waiting in Rignano for her two children, a 16-year-old girl and a 7-year-old boy with autism. “We never parted, he says, and he crossed that gap by counting the days until my return. He’s not used to being without me, I’m worried about him”.

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After many ups and downs, the phone call arrived from the Italian embassy on Saturday evening. “Tomorrow night – Sarah Kopete explains – my mother and I are going on a military trip to Cape Town”. There is no time to lose, in South Africa the lockdown can start in a few hours. Sarah and Leah will undergo a medical this morning, and then they will depart on a domestic flight that will take them from Johannesburg to Cape Town. “We booked a hotel 500m from the airport. On Tuesday – the woman concluded – if all goes well we will return to Italy. As promised to my son”.
Martina del Chica

Harold Manning

"Infuriatingly humble social media ninja. Devoted travel junkie. Student. Avid internet lover."

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