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South Africa: COVID-19 – Italian National On Unauthorised Flight From Zim Turned Back at OR Tambo Airport

An Italian national carrying a South African passport was barred from entering South Africa on Wednesday afternoon when he arrived at OR Tambo International Airport on an unauthorised private chartered flight from Zimbabwe.

According to the Department of Transport’s spokesperson, Ayanda-Allie Paine, the flight was not cleared by the department – a requirement during the 21-day national lockdown, aimed at curbing the spread of the novel coronavirus.

“The passenger initially refused to leave, but with the intervention of the South African Police Service (SAPS), the flight left the South African airspace at 19:50, returning to Harare, Zimbabwe,” Paine said.

The department is working closely with aviation authorities to review these protocols and ensure that only flights with necessary approval are allowed to enter South African airspace.

“Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula has called for a full investigation into the incident and consequence management should wrongdoing be found to have taken place,” Paine added.

Travel bans have been put in place as part of the nationwide lockdown.


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