After fears of Omicron, a new strain of coronavirus, the UK added South Africa to its travel red list, a young British family is now trapped in South Africa.
With the suspension of flights to Britain, the Dickinsons prevented Saturday night’s planned return home from South Africa.
Jessica and Michael Dickinson were left baffled by Thursday’s travel announcement. Jessica Dickinson, 33, described it as a “strange” experience. “worst nightmare come true”.
A week ago, the couple flew out to South Africa to introduce Amelia-Rose (16-months old) to their relatives. Mirror reports.
Jessica said: “When the borders opened we thought it was a great opportunity to come and see our family, we’d had a couple deaths in the family, so we thought it was important to make the trip out.
“We moved to the UK and have been here for 10 years, we recently had our daughter and have had no family support raising her. Nobody’s met her, this was an opportunity for them to at least meet her, because people are getting old and you never know when it will be somebody’s last time.”
The Surrey family was expected to return on Saturday night.
Amelia woke Jessica in tears and told Jessica about the news. Jessica checked her phone to find messages from a friend.
But, they decided that they could fly home as normal because Friday was their due date.
British Airways sent them an email advising that their flight had been cancelled.
“It’s literally just a snowball effect of everything, getting home, my daughter being sick, jobs,” Jessica said.
“My daughter’s also not been very well, she’s had a bad chest infection and I’ve been keen to get her back to the UK to have her looked at so this has really thrown us off.
“In the morning (Friday), we went down for breakfast and we overheard some other Brits talking about how they were all trying to rush off.
“There were people rushing to get PCR tests and take flights that had like three stay overs. But we can’t do that, we have our daughter.”
Jessica shared how Jessica and her husband spent hours calling various airlines, trying to reach them. Jessica also described how the British consulate was not able to reach them. “useless”.
“Both me and my husband are due to start back at work on Monday, but I don’t have my work laptop and we have to figure out childcare this side, whilst still paying for our nursery that side.
“It’s been relentless.
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“We nearly finalised another flight with Emirates on Tuesday evening, and were ready to pay until it was cancelled.
“We understand we’ll have to do the hotel quarantine but we’re worried about doing it with our daughter and I’m ADHD. I’m worried about what it’s going to be like on the other side. I get that’s what it needs to be like to get back home.”
On the journey back they face a bill of thousands because of the government’s actions as they have to book new flights and then pay for hotel quarantine too.
British Airways have set up a dedicated phone line for Brits in South Africa and now Jessica, Michael and Amelia have a flight booked in for the 4th to get them home.