Covid-19: Japanese workers at South African border to be escorted to Joburg airport to fly out

A source with knowledge of the police operation said the Japanese citizens had been due to fly out of SA at OR Tambo International Airport on Sunday night.
A source with knowledge of the police operation said the Japanese citizens had been due to fly out of SA at OR Tambo International Airport on Sunday night.
Image: Sawubona Blog

Plans are under way to escort Japanese citizens trapped at a South African border with Mozambique to Johannesburg's OR Tambo International Airport because of the coronavirus security clampdowns.

On Sunday morning 25 Japanese citizens, who had been working in Mozambique for nearly a month, were stopped at Machadodorp toll plaza in Mpumalanga by TRAC toll concession authorities. TRAC manages the N4 toll road between Pretoria and Nelspruit.

The group has been caught up in growing coronavirus security clampdowns which government has enforced to ensure a widespread outbreak is prevented in the country.

There is no suggestion any of them have tested positive for Covid-19.

The group were in buses when they were stopped in the toll booth lanes. The toll authorities were operating on requests from police, according to TRAC spokesperson, Solange Soares.

Soares said that police had requested them to stop the buses. “Police received information on the buses which our officials stopped at the Machadodorp toll plaza at 11:40am. The plaza is roughly 200km from Pretoria.

“The buses, which were travelling west, were stopped as they entered the toll lanes.”

She said the buses were eventually turned around and sent back to the Lembombo border post.

Asked for comment, police spokesperson Brigadier Vish Naidoo said he was still awaiting for reports on the matter.

A source with knowledge of the police operation said the Japanese citizens, who had been working in Mozambique, had been due to fly out of SA on Sunday night.

“They had booked to fly out of OR Tambo International Airport but because of various delays could not reach the airport.

“They then hired buses to get them to the airport. They were again delayed by various factors.”

He said plans were now under way for authorities to escort this group to the airport.

“The people have been booked onto another flight and are due to fly tomorrow [Monday].”

TimesLIVE has been informed that the SA government’s command council, which was established to deal with ways of halting the spread of Covid-19 in the country, is discussing the incident.

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