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'Stuck in the UK for almost two years' Durban chef was really hoping to come home then came Omicron

Two years ago, Durban foodie Sherwyn Weaich packed his bags, boarded a plane with the hope of spending Christmas with family in London. Picture: Facebook

Two years ago, Durban foodie Sherwyn Weaich packed his bags, boarded a plane with the hope of spending Christmas with family in London. Picture: Facebook

Published Nov 27, 2021

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Durban - Two years ago, Durban foodie Sherwyn Weaich packed his bags, boarded a plane with the hope of spending Christmas with family in London.

"It was meant to be a short trip, a three month vacation after four years of not having one. I am still here almost two years later because of Covid-19 and the restrictions on global travel," he said.

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Weaich is famously known as the Gourmet Bushie. He is also a presenter, restauranteur and an award-winning author.

When SA was finally removed from the UK's red list, Weaich made plans to return to Durban but his excitement was quickly snuffed out thanks to the announcement of a new Covid-19 variant which led more than five countries around the world, including the UK, to slap SA with travel restrictions.

Late on Thursday, news broke that the UK was adding SA yet again to its red list.

By Saturday morning, several more countries followed suit.

Weaich said the restrictions of vaccines to the global south and Africa, which has been dubbed #vaccineapartheid, has not helped the situation.

"It feels like we’re getting the short end of the stick," he said.

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He added that while he understood that every country has to protect itself, Africa is home to 54 countries and has received less than 1% of vaccines in the world. Yet the continent has been able to manage deaths, make little provision for stimulus packages and leads on genomic sequencing.

"However, we get the brunt of global restrictions. I have been here for 712 days. I am unable to hug my mother, kiss my grandmother, laugh with my brothers or sit and talk with my father. Mentally, it’s been brutal. You worry if a loved one will die and being unable to attend a funeral, already having lost so many," Weaich shared.

"My grandmother, a pensioner in Kwa-Zulu Natal is dreading another lockdown based on the surge in cases in Gauteng.“

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There have been over five million direct deaths to Covid-19 worldwide according to the World Health Organisation (WHO) but many more as a indirect result of travel restrictions and lockdowns.

"Mental health is just as important as physical health.

“Travel restrictions and lockdowns are like an archaic form of corporal punishment. Something needs to change. We put a man on the moon, developed ARV’s and placed the heart of one man in another. As a human race we are innovative, ambitious and resilient. We need to do better, we can only do that if we work together," Weaich said.

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