The forced quarantine in South Africa of Serena Negro and Charlie van Staden could end tonight, blocked since Friday by the stop to travel to Europe, due to the Omicron variant. Husband and wife, she is from Biella and a psychologist, while he has reached Italy (and in the recent past Biella Rugby) as a player and coach of the sport of the oval ball. Today they are the souls of EverseenSa, an organization that accompanies tourists on photographic safaris to safeguard the environment.
The blocking of travel to Europe took them by surprise and forced them to odyssey days, as well as a series of extra expenses. First they anticipated the date of the return trip hoping to be able to cross the border in time. Then, after contact with the embassy and consulate without precise answers, the new flight booked was canceled. “The panic continued to grow – they say – because we had already had six months of lockdown in South Africa in 2020”. Twice then the possibility of boarding a special plane set up by the Foreign Ministry for repatriation disappeared: on November 29 the operation was canceled when they were 10 kilometers from Cape Town airport, on 30 a second special flight was canceled because the minimum number of people set for it to take off had not been reached. Yesterday the final hope materialized: Serena Negro told it via Instagram from Pretoria, on the terrace of a restaurant “where the situation is perfectly normal, people go out, there is no lockdown”. She and her husband have reservations in their pockets for a commercial flight to Europe tonight. But the bitterness remains: “South Africa has never been removed from the red list of countries at risk, but the cases of Covid are among the lowest in the world“.