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Dad desperate to get back to wife and kids after being stranded in South Africa

A dad due to fly back to Birmingham Airport has been stranded in South Africa due to a new variant of Covid.

Richard Lace, 40, flew out to Johannesburg for work purposes on 21 November.

But his flight back last week, on Friday, was cancelled – due to the worrying emergence of the Omicron variant.

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Mr Lace had been due to fly back via Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, to Brum.

“The way we’ve been treated is a joke,” he told the MEN.

“It’s been upsetting and put mental strain on my family.

“It was Thursday when we started to see the stories, I came back to my hotel and my wife has sent me links about the variant.

“We could feel the energy, it was starting to look bad.

“We were due to fly to Dubai from Cape Town, and then Birmingham on Friday and we thought everything would be OK.

“But then on Friday Dubai put a stop to it and were stranded straight away.

“We knew we would have had to do 10 days in isolation but they wouldn’t let us through Dubai, they closed the borders.

“Everything was just cancelled overnight.

“They said if you can get home before 4am on Sunday you don’t have to quarantine in a hotel but they’ve cancelled all the flights.”


“It’s absolutely ridiculous,” said Richard.

“The British Embassy in South Africa is completely dead – we’ve had no response whatsoever. You call and no one answers – I’ve emailed the British Consulate and we’ve just had a automatic response.

“We’ve had no help whatsoever.

“Apparently British Airways might be doing flights on Monday.

“Now I’m just sat on my own in a hotel room in Johannesburg, it’s just madness.”

Dad desperate to get back to wife and kids after being stranded in South Africa

“Being completely honest I feel liet down by the UK government, they can’t just abandon people,” he said.

“There was no plan it was just ‘you’re not coming home’.

“There should have been somebody at the airport.

“There were families – women and children in tears because they had no idea what to do.

“At one desk – the booking agent – there must have been 5,000 people there.

“I won’t see my family for two or three weeks, I won’t be able to run my business. I’m desperate to see my family.

“The whole situation could have been handled better.”

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