The government has announced more details regarding international travel South Africa, including a list of high-risk countries where leisure travel will not be permitted at present.
At a media briefing on Wednesday, International Relations and Cooperation Minister Dr Naledi Pandor said South Africa has adopted a “gradual reopening of borders and ports of entry for international travel.”
International travel resumes on 1 October
She explained, “The gradual reopening of borders and ports of entry informed by a cautious approach means that a limited number of ports of entry and borders will be opened from 1 October, 2020.
“In reopening these selected ports of entry and borders, we will be guided by epidemiological and transmission rates both in South Africa and the traveller’s countries of origin.”
The government will require all travellers to South Africa to produce a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test that is not older than 72 hours from the time of departure.
On arrival, travellers will undergo COVID-19 screening and produce proof of accommodation address should they need to self-quarantine. The quarantine will be at their own cost should they test positive for the virus. The test will also be at their cost should they display symptoms.
Risk categorisation model
Pandor further said South Africa has developed a “risk categorisation model for different international travellers.” This model classifies travellers as either high, medium or low-risk.
The Minister explained, “High-risk travellers are those who come from countries with higher numbers of COVID-19 infections and reported deaths compared to South Africa.
“Medium-risk travellers are from countries with relatively equal number of infections and death toll to South Africa and low-risk travellers obviously originate from countries with lesser number of infections of COVID-19 and death toll than South Africa.”
South Africa will not permit leisure travel from high-risk countries. However, exceptions will apply to “business travellers with scarce and critical skills, including diplomats, repatriated persons, investors and people participating in professional sporting and cultural events.” They will undergo the normal health screenings.
Travellers from medium and low-risk countries will only be allowed into South Africa after adhering to prevailing visa requirements.
If passports of travellers from high-risk countries show that they have spent more than 10 days in a low-risk country, they will be considered to be arriving from a low risk country.
Pandor added, “Airlines from high risk countries are not necessarily banned, but their crew will be required to isolate in facilities at designated accommodation at the cost of their employer.
“Long term visa holders who visit the country for business purposes will be allowed to travel to South Africa. These travellers will also be subject to health screenings for COVID-19 symptoms at the port of entry.”
International travel South Africa: List of high-risk countries
Home Affairs Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi provided a list of high-risk countries from where international leisure travel to South Africa will not be permitted at the moment. These countries include:
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Costa Rica
- Czech Republic
- North Macedonia
- Puerto Rico
- United Arab Emirates
- United Kingdom
EDITOR’S NOTE: This article was updated after Minister Aaron Motsoaledi issued a statement with the updated list of high-risk countries.