Travel ban leaves German family stuck in S.Africa

Marina Wessolowski and her family came to South Africa to spend Christmas with her mother.

They expected her to fly back to Germany early next month.

But thanks to a new, fast-spreading strain of the coronavirus they are now unsure when they’ll be able to return home.

"I didn't think that air-traffic will be affected in the way it has been affected right at the moment. That is shocking and I don't quite know which way things are gonna go and we're here to spend Christmas with our family and I don't know, we will see what will happen."

A growing number of countries, including Germany, have barred travelers from South Africa while they assess how much danger the new variant poses.

It is different from one identified in Britain, though both carry mutations that make them more transmissible than previously circulating dominant strains.

Marina says being apart from her 76-year-old mother has been the hardest part of it all.

"She has been very lonely because she is on her own and a huge portion of the year she was alone in her apartment, but we are all following the rules and keeping our distance with her. It's very difficult to see your mom after a year and you can't hug her."

South Africa's tourism department said it had no information on the number of flights canceled or rescheduled due to the bans.

But said it was working with the foreign ministry and embassies to facilitate contact between foreign citizens in South Africa and their governments.