SA honeymooning couple stuck in luxury Maldives hotel amid coronavirus lockdown

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Olivia and Raul de Freitas from South Africa are the only guests stuck in luxury Maldives hotel amid coronavirus lockdown (Photo: Raul de Freitas via Facebook)
Olivia and Raul de Freitas from South Africa are the only guests stuck in luxury Maldives hotel amid coronavirus lockdown (Photo: Raul de Freitas via Facebook)

What was meant to be a six-day honeymoon on a tropical island soon turned into an isolation destination for these South African newlyweds.

The De Freitases - Olivia, 27, and Raul, 28 - from South Africa arrived at the beautiful Cinnamon Velifushi Hotel in the Maldives on 22 March for what they thought would be a perfect honeymoon.

But after spending just four days on the island, South Africa announced its 21-day lockdown as the coronavirus crept into parts of the country.

Prior to their departure, the pair, who tied the knot on 14 March, communicated with their travel agent regarding the practicalities of travelling amid the growing pandemic despite no restrictions being announced at the time, the Daily Mail reports.

Olivia and Raul were given the go-ahead after they were reassured by their agent that they would be allowed back home. But little did they know that a nationwide lockdown with no incoming or outgoing flights would change all of that, The Telegraph reports.

Even though the duo considered leaving their little paradise and taking a 30-minute speedboat ride to the main island's airport, they would not have made it home before the midnight lockdown.

In addition to this, the Maldives soon announced its own lockdown, which according to Complex meant if the couple left their island, they would not be allowed back in.

So the newlyweds had to make the tough decision to stay and wait it out.

The De Freitases reached out to the South African Consulate in the Maldives and South African Embassy in Sri Lanka for help. They were consequently notified by a representative that there were 40 other South Africans stuck in the Maldives.

The two have described their stay at the R14 000-a-night resort as "an extravagance" which has now eaten into their savings, according to The New York Times.

On Sunday, the couple was notified by the embassy via WhatsApp to pack their belongings within the hour, after which they would be taken by speedboat to another resort where about two dozen other South Africans were also being helped.  

While it remains unknown when the honeymooners will return home, part of their stay is now being subsidised thanks to the local government.

*YOU magazine has reached out to the couple for comment.

Sources: DailyMailThe New York TimesComplexThe Telegraph

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