How The Coronavirus Stranded This Couple in the Maldives

After publication, this article was updated to reflect new conditions.

Olivia and Raul De Freitas are currently on their honeymoon, at a five-star resort, in the Maldives, a nation composed of more than a thousand tiny, idyllic islands in the Indian Ocean, like a trail of smashed crystals scattered on a slab of blue glass. For years the subject of fantasy photo spreads in glossy magazines, featuring luxe bungalows on stilts, in unreal aquamarine water, it was an obvious choice for their romantic getaway.

The couple arrived just married from South Africa, where they are citizens, on Sunday, March 22, planning to stay for six days. For a 27-year-old teacher and a 28-year-old butcher, the holiday “was an extravagance,” Ms. De Freitas said. But since they hadn’t lived together before exchanging vows, it would be a short, firecracker of a launch to their marriage.

Still, they had some concerns about the trip, considering the mounting travel restrictions imposed in light of the new coronavirus outbreak around the world. But nothing specific that would affect them had been announced, and their travel agent assured them that, whatever policy was forthcoming, all South African citizens would be allowed back home. Go ahead and have a great time, they were told.

By Wednesday, they received notice that their country’s airports would all be closed by midnight Thursday. Flights back to South Africa are five hours to Doha, Qatar, a three-hour layover, and then nine hours to Johannesburg — so even if they scrambled, and even if they could get a flight, the complexities of leaving their remote island ensured they’d never make it home in time.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/05/style/coronavirus-honeymoon-stranded.html

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

4 × 3 =