Health and Medicine

International travelers stranded, angry in omicron’s wake: ‘The first thing I did was cry’

By Paulina Firozi and Brittany Shammas Washington Post

Lauren Kennedy Brady landed in Johannesburg on Friday to a flurry of text messages and news alerts.

The Broadway veteran and North Carolina resident was headed home after 11 days touring Africa alongside her mother, daughter and niece — a long-delayed bucket list item for the foursome. They were at the first stop on what was supposed to be a multi-leg journey from Zambia to Raleigh. Everything was going smoothly.

But scanning her phone, Kennedy Brady, 47, learned a new variant of the coronavirus had been detected in South Africa. Not long after, the family found themselves stranded, their reservation on the next flight canceled amid the new restrictions.

“Until that moment, everything seemed fine. We hadn’t had any problems traveling around. Of course, there’s been protocols … but that’s just the world we live in now,” Kennedy Brady said. “So for this thing to have happened within minutes — it was just like, ‘And stop.’ ”



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