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Orelia Pria Egambaram: Her UK To South Africa Repatriation Story

SABC NEWS: South African citizen Orelia Pria Egambaram was repatriated from the UK recently after lockdown restrictions left her stranded. The wave of the lockdown has kept many apart from their families including Egambaram who hails from Swaziland. But now she is grateful that she is closer to getting home thanks to the efforts of the UK and South African governments repatriation efforts.

Egambaram speaking to Indian Spice explains what happened as the UK moved into lockdown, “When the UK went into lockdown I was fortunate enough to have been taken in by Dr. Pete Veerasamy, his wife Shivashni and daughter Sia. They reside in Didcot, Oxfordshire, and I spent the entire lockdown duration here until I was repatriated. Didcot is a fairly small town, neighbouring Oxford so the rules and police presence weren’t heavily enforced. Within the residential area is was clear that people were still strolling outside and walking their dogs. The attitude seemed fairly relaxed, and the sense of urgency to remain locked indoors didn’t seem to exist. 

Egambaram lauded the efforts of the the South African operations that repatriated her from the UK.

“The leadership shown by South Africa has been absolutely remarkable at this time and I am so proud to be South African! I really commend our leaders for the way in which the lives of the citizens of SA has been prioritised.” She went to state, “I can say that I am truly proud of the way in which SA has handled this situation. The leadership shown has been decisive and bold and it has clearly placed the lives of the citizens before any other gain. I know that most South Africans are frustrated with the current situation, but I am sure that in a few months when we look back, that we will be grateful for the way in which our government has acted in this time.”

Pria Egambaram snaps a selfie with the hardworking team that repatriated her from the United Kingdom. | Source: Instagram

Egambaram is currently doing her PhD in Chemistry at Kent University in the United Kingdom – but due to the lockdown there, she was compelled to request repatriation to South Africa. She eventually reached South Africa on the 12th of April and has been completing her 14-day quarantine in Cape Town. But now Orelia faces another hurdle in reuniting with her family who are currently residing in Swaziland.

Egambaram plans to return to the United Kingdom explaining the her PhD program is a 4 year program and she will need to return as soon as the crisis eases and lockdown restrictions are lifted.

I am fairly nervous as to when this will be , but I find solace in the fact that this is a global crisis and we are all trying to figure this out together. 

Speaking to Newsbreak producer Taresh Harreeparshad listen to this podcast

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