Coronavirus: Mystery over Italian man at RG Mugabe International airport

  • Chartered plane turned back to Hre from Jo’burg
  • SA seriously vetting arrivals at O Tambo airport

THE COVID-19 scare escalated Wednesday after a mysterious chartered plane landed in Harare carrying an Italian man and proceeded to South Africa without clearance by both countries transport ministries as per prescribed protocol in force during lockdown, Zim Morning Post can reports.
According to South Africa transport ministry official Ayanda Paine, the plane landed at Oliver Tambo International airport on Wednesday afternoon with only one passenger-an Italian national with a South African passport.

“The flight was not cleared by the Department of Transport as is the protocol in force during the lockdown
“The passenger and crew were held at the airport as authorities sought guidance in how to handle them.
“Subsequently, a decision was made not to allow him in the country,” said Paine in a statement released Thursday.
“He initially refused prompting intervention by South Africa Police Services (SAPS) and eventually left SA airspace to Harare at 19.30hours,” added Paine.
Sources at RG Mugabe airport said the chartered plane turned back to Hre from Jo’burg but no official statement has been issued over the plane and its crew.

Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe authorities could not be reached at the time of writing on Thursday.
SA transport minister Fikile Mbalule reportedly ordered a full throttle investigation and vowed that heads will roll to management at South Africa Navigation services and Airports Company South Africa should any be found wanting.
The whereabouts of the Italian man is yet to be established and how the plane evaded local airspace without detection.
No official communication has been made by government as yet .
Italy is the second COVID-19 hardest hit country in the world after United States.

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