The German government will begin the repatriation of its citizens from South Africa on Friday.
About 5 000 German tourists are stuck in the country, and will be repatriated from Johannesburg and Cape Town via South African Airways, the German Embassy said on Thursday.
The repatriation is now permitted in terms of revised regulations announced by the Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula on Tuesday. Previously, all flights were grounded.
The first of the outgoing repatriation flights departed OR Tambo International Airport on Wednesday morning, headed for Brazil, News24 reported.
First outgoing repatriation flight leaves OR Tambo with 321 passengers bound for Brazil
German Ambassador Martin Schafer said that it is going to be an "enormous logistical challenge" to get German citizens home.
Open to EU
The repatriation flights are also open to citizens from other European Union member states.
"It has been agreed with South African authorities that all passengers will converge at a central assembly point, from where buses will take them to the airport.
"Only passengers not showing symptoms of the coronavirus will be allowed to travel aboard the flights," the embassy added.
Screening will be conducted before every flight and those displaying symptoms will be subjected to South Africa's quarantine laws.