On March 22, Raul and Olivia De Freitas set out for what should have been a six-day honeymoon in the Maldives. Over two weeks later, they are still stuck there.
According to a New York Times report, the newlyweds from South Africa were repeatedly assured by their travel agent that they would be able to return home despite growing concerns over coronavirus-related travel restrictions. That has not been the case.
As South Africa announced a strict lockdown to contain the spread of coronavirus, the honeymooning couple were informed on Wednesday that their country's airports would all be closed by midnight Thursday. To get back home, the couple would have had to take an hour-and-a-half speedboat ride to the main island, then a five-hour flight to Qatar, a three-hour layover, and finally a nine-hour journey to Johannesburg - meaning that there was no way they could make it back in time.
Consequently, the De Freitas have found themselves stuck in a five-star resort on the Maldives - a chain of islands in the Indian Ocean beloved for its pristine beaches and luxury resorts.
"Everyone says they want to be stuck on a tropical island, until you're actually stuck," said Ms De Freitas, a 27-year-old teacher. "It only sounds good because you know you can leave."
The couple is now the only guest at Cinnamon Velifushi Maldives resort, which is normally at capacity this time of the year. Because of their presence, the resort's staff has also been retained - and now shower their full attention on their only guests.
"Their 'room boy' checks on them five times a day. The dining crew made them an elaborate candlelit dinner on the beach. Every night performers still put on a show for them in the resort's restaurant: Two lone audience members in a grand dining hall," reports The New York Times.
According to People, the couple has been given a generous discount by the hotel, where prices begin at $750 a night (approximately Rs 57,000) - but the growing bill is still ate away a good portion of their savings. They have yet to receive any updates on their return flight home.Click for more trending news