COVID-19 lock-down in South Africa left me stranded in Switzerland’s lock-down. Actually, my return flight ended up cancelled for the ‘unforeseeable future’. The ‘unforeseeable future’ fortunately got altered to mid-April courtesy of a ‘Mercy’ Flight by SAA. All arrangements took place through the Department of International Relations and Co-operation.
Quarantine on arrival in South Africa
Special travel permit letters arrived for each of the approximately 400 travellers gathered in Frankfurt airport for the flight. However, the letters ended up thrown back at us by the German authorities. Inexplicably, they denied us the option of traversing through Immigration. Additionally, they denied us luggage collection for stuff arriving from all four corners of Europe. However, the efforts made by South Africa certainly got appreciation from all of us.
Our South African Department of Health really went the extra mile getting us comfortably accommodated in a hotel in Boksburg. There, we settled in and awaited the results of our COVID-19 test. The hotel nicely clean, provided plenty of hot water for the showers. And, it came with good wi-fi. Three meals a day arrived at our doors and included snacks, cool-drinks, and water.
Confinement and smoking (level 5)
The only restriction meant strict confinement to our rooms, all of which allowed no smoking. The smokers gained permission for a cigarette as long as they wore a mask and kept social distancing. Have you ever tried smoking with a mask on? I got some interesting sights from my room where I was able to work with my door open
A cacophony of coughing indicated quick drags, followed by restoration of the face mask, then a long exhale with people pulling at their masks allowing the smoke an escape. Apparently, this fine art requires some practice and nimble finger skills judging by the number of oaths floating in the smoke at the beginning of our confinement.
Men struggle with quarantine confinement
Another notable fact: men really struggle with confinement and social distancing. Actually, from my desk I always heard long and loud conversations tossed between male smokers. Yes, an occasional feminine squeal sounded in the mix. But, the consistent fact seemed that the men struggled in seclusion.
Think about it, ladies. Two weeks of meals on wheels, a warm bed, and full control of the television remote. Sounds like heaven, right? No wonder we all stuck to our beds and our computers!
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