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Germany sends planes to evacuate Cape Town cruise ship passengers

Tourists aboard the cruise ship AIDAmira celebrate on March 19 2020 after hearing that Covid-19 tests on six fellow passengers had come back negative.
Tourists aboard the cruise ship AIDAmira celebrate on March 19 2020 after hearing that Covid-19 tests on six fellow passengers had come back negative.
Image: Esa Alexander

Germany has sent four chartered aircraft to Cape Town to collect citizens from a cruise ship berthed in the city.

A total of 1,243 Germans were among 1,750 passengers and crew who were trapped aboard the AIDAmira for four days this week as six passengers awaited the results of Covid-19 tests.

The ship sailed from Walvis Bay last Friday and arrived in Cape Town on Sunday. The six passengers had flown to Cape Town from Istanbul on the same plane as a cargo ship crew member who later developed Covid-19 symptoms.

The ship's quarantine was finally lifted on Wednesday when the six passengers - who were taken off the ship - tested negative.

Transport minister Fikile Mbalula said on Friday the German government had sent four empty planes to collect passengers and fly them home.

“The crew will not be permitted to disembark but will await the arrival of the German nationals, who will be escorted from the AIDAmira and on to the plane,” said a transport ministry statement.

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