South Africa will reopen international travel during level 1 as from 1 October, 2020, Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma confirmed on Friday.
Pursuant to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement on Wednesday, Dlamini-Zuma said 18 land border ports and three international airports will resume operation on 1 October.
These airports are Johannesburg’s OR Tambo, Durban’s King Shaka and Cape Town International Airports. The 35 land borders that are currently closed will remain closed.
African continent, low-risk countries
“This means all travellers from the African continent and from countries outside the African continent with a low rate infections and transmission, will resume subject to them having a health clearance certificate and the directions by the relevant ministers,” Dlamini-Zuma said.
However, she did not immediately provide a list of non-African countries where travel would be allowed or not, only stating that the government will issue a schedule in due course.
“Even for these countries, it is not permanent. It will depend [on] what happens to their infections [and when] they come under control; they will be allowed.
“The Health Minster will make sure that the affected countries are properly identified. I don’t know the exact date [for the schedule], but it will be before we start travelling. This is not a static list and it will be changing all the time,” the Minister explained.
South African embassies will start accepting visa applications again as from next week, she said, and the government will reactivate long-term visas so that travellers can use them as from 1 October.
Although all commercial seaports will reopen, passenger cruise ships will not be allowed to offload.
“We must emphasise that every flight, bus, cruise and train ride carries with them a risk of further transmission. Thus, we will implement further and strict protocols to limit the risk,” the Minister said.
South Africans and other travellers returning from abroad will be required to produce medical certificates not older than 72 hours upon arrival. These certificates must prove their COVID-19 negative status.
Travellers who produce such certificates and do not show COVID-19 symptoms will not be quarantined, Dlamini-Zuma said. Those who fail to produce the certificates or show symptoms will be quarantined at their own cost.