The trip to South Africa started very well for engineer Daniel Tribo Rizzuto, 25, and his family, but since Friday night (26), it has gained an air of uncertainty. He, his brother and his parents would return to Brazil this Sunday (28), but, due to the omicron variant of the coronavirus, all flights departing that country are cancelled.
“We are experiencing enormous tension. Nobody knows anything. They don’t know when the flight operations will return, all flights have in fact been cancelled. The flights that were going to leave today were also already full, it was not possible to relocate anyone. They said to return there on Monday for more information. We have no idea what’s going to happen,” says he, who is in Cape Town.
This Sunday, he and his family should contact the Brazilian Embassy in South Africa for answers.
“What we would like is a definition from the government. Why closure was determined [das fronteiras aéreas brasileiras para pessoas vindas do continente africano], and we understand that it is a security measure, but nothing was said about how people who are here in Africa, not only in South Africa, but the other five countries… How are they going to return home? ”, he asks.
And he adds: “How do we stay in this situation? Will there be an emergency flight so we can get home? Because life will go on, we have commitments, and it’s our house, we need to go back… So far we don’t have the slightest idea of how we’re going to get back”.
Daniel, his father Roberto, his brother Rafael and his mother Laura during a trip to South Africa — Photo: Personal archive
Daniel says he learned about the new variant through friends and family who are in Brazil. “Here, we only know what we hear on the radio, that a new variant has emerged, which is being studied, but which has no solution. And everything is working normally, bars, restaurants, markets, fairs, cafes… It doesn’t seem like people are worried about that.”
The engineer says that no one in the group has any symptoms of Covid-19, he remembers that they took tests to be able to travel, and that they all came back negative. This Saturday, they would do a new exam, but with the cancellation of the flight, this was also suspended.
With his vacation scheduled to end this Sunday, he would have to go back to work as well, so he’s trying to negotiate with his boss. “This uncertainty is making us very worried. We have work, my girlfriend, who is in São Paulo, friends, family… And I don’t know how long I’ll have to stay here. I’m talking to everyone there to have understanding and patience right now.”
Added to this lack of forecast about the return are the expenses that arose from the need to extend the trip indefinitely, since the costs with accommodation and food are being covered by the family itself. “We are paying for everything, we don’t know if there will be any refunds.”
Daniel, his brother Rafael, and his parents Roberto and Laura during a trip to South Africa — Photo: Personal archive