A South African Airways (SAA) flight with 200 South Africans is expected to arrive at the O.R Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg later on Sunday.
The South African Embassy in Washington says many South Africans in the US, Caribbean countries and Canada have requested to be repatriated, after losing their jobs amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Among the passengers are citizens who were working in hospitality, particularly resorts or country clubs in the United States.
Some were on holiday, while others were passengers on cruises that are no longer operating due to COVID-19 restrictions.
The first of three flights to South Africa, will arrive from Washington DC on Sunday evening. The South African Embassy in Washington also confirmed that a second flight would depart on Sunday followed by a third repatriation flight on May 10. Passengers will be expected to enter a two-week quarantine upon arrival in South Africa.
SA Ambassador to the United States, Nomaindia Mfeketo says this first group forms part of 1000 South Africans who will be brought back home.
“The first flight will have 275, the second will have the same number and the third flight will be more than that because it will also include South Africans in nearby countries like Canada and other countries. Chicago, LA and New York are part of the 1000, it’s only the third flight that will include people from other areas.
In the video below, NomaIndia Mfeketho talks about 1000 South Africans to be repatriated from USA:
The South African government also repatriated its citizens from Wuhan province (China) which was the epicenter, Brazil and the United Arab Emirates in March and April.
The military and SAA staff flew from South Africa to Wuhan to repatriate the South Africans in March.
They were screened before the flight and entered a three-week quarantine period in Limpopo after arriving back on South African soil. The group has tested negative for COVID-19.
South Africans repatriated from Wuhan arrive:
COVID-19 statistics in South Africa:
— Dr Zweli Mkhize (@DrZweliMkhize) May 2, 2020