'It just happened so fast.' Raleigh family stranded in South Africa as omicron variant spreads

28November 2021

Starting Monday, the United States is restricting travel from South Africa and seven other African countries in an effort to control the spread of the new omicron variant.

Even though travel restrictions do not apply to Americans, many people are finding it hard to return home, including a Raleigh family currently stranded in South Africa.

“It’s been very confusing,” said Lauren Kennedy-Brady. “It just happened so fast.”

Kennedy-Brady spoke to WRAL News from her hotel room in Johannesburg, South Africa, where her family is holed up after a safari vacation. The family said they’re hoping for a flight home to Raleigh.

“We have spent the last 48 hours booking and rebooking for flights that are continually getting canceled, or they are not letting us on because we do not have a European passport,” said Kennedy-Brady.

From Cape Town to Victoria Falls, the family’s two-week vacation ended Friday, just as many countries starting issuing travel bans because of the omicron variant.

“It’s really hard. The game keeps changing and we are just trying to keep a level head and trying to keep our patience in tact,” said Kennedy-Brady.

Kennedy-Brady — a well-known actress in the Triangle — said the airport is filled with frustrated passengers in the same situation.

“[There’s} really long lines and lots of confusion and chaos,” she said.

Back in Raleigh, the family’s loved ones are waiting for their return.

“Well, sure, Americans can come back but the problem is Americans can’t get back,” said Alan Campbell, a family member of Kennedy-Brady.

Campbell said the United States Embassies and Consulates have provided very little information.

“If you are coming from South Africa, I think other countries are saying, at least at this point, until there is some protocol or agreement about getting our citizens home, everybody is hands off. This may be something that is just going to take time,” he added.

Kennedy-Brady said the family’s trip to South Africa was canceled twice because of the pandemic, but now, the virus is what’s keeping them there.

“I have to keep telling myself I am so grateful that we are together; we have each other,” she said.

All four women are fully vaccinated and have the negative COVID-19 tests they need to return to the U.S.

Kennedy-Brady has reached out to Sen. Tom Tillis’ office for assistance. She added that she expects to hear more about their travel options on Monday.

This post was originally published on this site

Leave a Reply

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

See Your Business Here!

For more information on our listings, advertising, coupons, and mailers, please contact us today!