Prisoner of the Omicron variant in South Africa, the turning point: return with a military flight

Prisoner of the Omicron variant in South Africa, the turning point: return with a military flight
Prisoner of the Omicron variant in South Africa, the turning point: return with a military flight

Florence, November 28, 2021 – Alone, with her elderly mother and her brother’s ashes in an urn. For three days, two Florentine women have been living a real odyssey in South Africa affected by the Covid Omicron variant. After being refused on the flight back home, the anguish ended thanks to the Italian embassy that made a military flight available to fellow countrymen scattered in the land of the Boers that will land on Tuesday in Pratica di Mare near Rome.

Sara Cupiti, 42-year-old viareggina, has been living in Rignano sull’Arno (Florence) where she works as an accountant in her husband Marco’s company. On November 16 she left for Johannesburg with mom Italy “Lia” Losa, 83, Florentine, to bring home the remains of her brother Pierpaolo, who died suddenly at the age of 53. For decades he had been teaching communication at the university of the South African metropolis. “My mother – says Sara – wanted to come with me, to be able to say goodbye to her son one last time”.

The repatriation procedures turned out to be more complex and time-consuming than expected. And when it came time to leave, flights were blocked due to the Omicron variant. “We had reservations with Swiss Air to Zurich, and then to Peretola, but when the health alarm went off, the company decided to board only the Swiss. And all flights to Italy were canceled.” Waiting for Sara in Rignano are her two children, a 16-year-old girl and a 7-year-old boy with autism. “We never separated – he says – and he managed to overcome this gap by counting the days until my return. He is not used to being without me, I am anxious for him”.

After so many ups and downs, the phone call from the Italian embassy arrived on Saturday evening. “Tomorrow night – explains Sara Cupiti – my mother and I will embark on a military flight to Cape Town”. There is no time to waste, in South Africa the lockdown could be triggered in a few hours. This morning Sara and Lia will undergo a swab, then they will leave on a domestic flight that will take them from Johannesburg to Cape Town. “We have booked a hotel 500 meters from the airport. On Tuesday – concludes the woman – if all goes well we will return to Italy. As I promised my son”.
Martina Del Chicca

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