Olivia and Raul de Freitas went on their honeymoon to the Maldives, but the Covid-19 pandemic “spoiled” their plans.
The South African couple traveled on 22 March to the Maldives, where they stayed at a five-star resort. In view of the travel restrictions imposed worldwide, the 27-year-old teacher and the 28-year-old butcher had some concerns, but nothing in particular was told. The travel agency ensured that, regardless of what happened, all South African citizens would be allowed to return home.
The truth is that three days after arriving at the resort, they received information that South African airports were closed and that it was impossible to return to their country of origin. As the pandemic spread, the other citizens staying at the resort quickly traveled to their respective countries.
Stuck on a paradise island, the couple tried not to panic. Speaking to the newspaper “The New York Times”, Raul explained that on hearing the news “they were calm, after all they were in paradise”.
Meanwhile, the couple asked for help from the South African consulate and contacted the embassy. A representative from the embassy indicated that the most viable and quickest option to return home was to rent a private plane paid for by the couple, which would cost about 90,000 euros.
The days passed and Olivia and Raul were already the only guests at the five-star resort where the normal price for one night is around 650 euros.
Still speaking to the American newspaper, Olivia said: “It is incredible that we have this extra time, but the expenses with the stay increase every day”. Although the resort made a discount, the bill grew and they had to resort to savings that had been put aside for a future home.
The South African government has already announced that it will partly contribute to the expenses, but the couple is still in “paradise” without knowing the date of return home.