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Canadians in South Africa face troublesome return as a consequence of new Omicron guidelines – Nationwide

Canadians in South Africa face troublesome return as a consequence of new Omicron guidelines – Nationwide

Megan Tanya Hodgkinson was visiting family in South Africa final week when Canada imposed journey restrictions on a number of African international locations after scientists detected a brand new variant of the novel coronavirus.

Hodgkinson, who was in Durban to see her sick mom, deliberate to return dwelling with a few of her in-laws to rejoice Christmas in Ontario. Now, her in-laws’ go to has been cancelled and she or he isn’t certain how she’ll get dwelling.

“My husband and my two different youngsters are in Canada and if I’ve to overlook Christmas with them, it’s heartbreaking,” Hodgkinson, who’s travelling together with her three-year-old son, stated in an interview Wednesday.

Learn extra:

Calgary household stranded in South Africa amid journey bans prompted by Omicron variant

Canadians making an attempt to return from South Africa, one among 10 international locations focused in Canada’s new journey restrictions, say they face poorly conceived guidelines which are troublesome to observe they usually aren’t receiving sufficient data from the federal authorities about the best way to return dwelling.

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Residents of South Africa and 6 neighbouring nations, together with Egypt, Malawi and Nigeria can’t come to Canada. Canadians getting back from these international locations should get a COVID-19 take a look at earlier than departure, one other take a look at of their nation of transit, and to get examined as soon as extra after they land. In addition they must quarantine after they arrive in Canada at a government-designated facility till they get a destructive end result.

Hodgkinson, who’s a Canadian everlasting resident with a South African passport, stated she worries she received’t be capable to meet the in-transit testing rule.

Getting a COVID-19 take a look at on the London, England, airport, the place she has her connecting flight would require her to undergo immigration — one thing that’s solely doable for travellers from South Africa who’re British or Irish residents, due to U.Okay. journey restrictions meant to sluggish the unfold of the Omicron variant.

Learn extra:

Why simply Africa? Well being consultants query Canada singling out continent with COVID journey guidelines

“I’m making an attempt my finest to do all the things legally, in the precise approach,” she stated. “I don’t need to convey any virus into my dwelling nation.

“That transit take a look at is stopping numerous Canadians from getting again dwelling and that’s inflicting a giant downside.”

She stated it feels just like the Canadian entry restrictions weren’t designed with the realities of Canadian travellers in thoughts.

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“I don’t perceive this transit take a look at in the course of the flights again. I’m getting a take a look at earlier than I go away South Africa and getting a take a look at after I get (to Canada),” she stated.

“I’m ready within the resort to have a destructive take a look at after which going straight dwelling. I’ve a quarantine plan. I’ve my very own automobile ready for me on the airport, so, nobody’s even driving me dwelling.”

Hodgkinson stated the restrictions are unfair as a result of they solely goal sure African international locations, regardless of the actual fact the Omicron variant has been detected in Europe, Asia and the USA.

“The South African authorities was open and sincere with the remainder of the world, they didn’t disguise it,” she stated. “They might have simply stored quiet, however this feels to me prefer it’s going to show the remainder of the world to only preserve quiet.”

Click to play video: 'COVID-19: Calgary family stranded in South Africa amid travel bans prompted by Omicron variant'

COVID-19: Calgary household stranded in South Africa amid journey bans prompted by Omicron variant

COVID-19: Calgary household stranded in South Africa amid journey bans prompted by Omicron variant

Peter Pfefferle, a Montreal resident who travelled to South Africa to see a ribbon-cutting ceremony at a faculty constructed by a charity he helps, stated he was planning to return to Canada on a KLM flight final Monday. Nonetheless, he and his spouse had their reservation cancelled as a result of the journey had a stopover within the Netherlands. That nation issued a current order banning non-European residents from transiting by way of its territory.

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Pfefferle, a Canadian citizen, additionally has a German passport, however his spouse, Natacha Carpentier, solely has a Canadian passport.

“We went to the airport that night time to attempt to get on the airplane, however they lifted up Natacha’s passport they usually stated, ‘that’s your downside,”’ Pfefferle stated in an interview Wednesday. “That’s the primary time in my life that I remorse having a Canadian passport or that my spouse has a Canadian passport.”

Pfefferle stated he struggled to pay money for the Canadian consulate in Cape City and that an e mail service for Canadians overseas solely offered details about entry necessities.

“They are saying, ‘in the event you’re in South Africa, proper now please be ready to remain longer.”’

Learn extra:

Omicron variant was in Europe earlier than South Africa introduced detection, information exhibits

The couple has now booked a flight by way of Germany after they had been unable to get a flight transiting by way of the USA.

“Now we understand the one nation that’s caring for us is Germany,” Carpentier stated.

Edos Omorotionmwan, a lawyer in Calgary, stated he’s anxious his father must cancel a deliberate go to from Nigeria in January. Omorotionmwan stated he thinks Canada’s determination to solely limit journey from African international locations is racist.

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“I perceive that there’s a want for us to be very cautious so far as it pertains to COVID and our responses to the variants which are popping out periodically,” stated in an interview Wednesday. “However I believe that on this specific occasion, it seems to be very racist.”

“Why has it not been prolonged to European international locations the place Omicron has been detected?”

International Affairs Canada didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.

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© 2021 The Canadian Press

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