International Borders Are Open As Government Releases High Risk List

International borders have opened today in South Africa after six months of lockdown. Travellers from high risk countries are still not allowed to come to South Africa. 

The following restrictions are to be observed when it comes to international travel:

  • Travel will be restricted to and from countries with high infection rates. This list of countries will be published soon.
  • You are only able to use one of the land border posts made operational or from the three main airports: King Shaka International Airport, Cape Town International Airport or OR Tambo International Airport. 
  • Should you want to travel internationally, you will need to be negative for Covid with the test result being from less than 72 hours of departure. If you don't have a test, a mandatory quarantine will be required. The test must be conducted by a certified medical practitioner and must have the name and signature of the person who conducted the test.
  • Travellers will screened on arrival. Should they present with symptoms, they will be required to remain in quarantine until a repeat test is done.
  • All travellers must have the Covid Alert SA app

Some of the first international flights which marked the first day of the borders reopening were for Harare, Frankfurt, Zurich, Lusaka, Nairobi, Addis Adaba and Dubai with the last flight set to land at 19:45. 

The first flights coming in to South Africa is that of the Lufthansa and Emirates airlines.

"It is going to start picking up, of course only from the countries that are allowed in South Africa and if it is from a high risk country, it's only for business purposes or if you're a diplomat or repatriation purposes," reported eNCA.

Even though opening the borders was a move in the right direction for South Africa, the high risk list is said to be a major blow for the tourism and hospitality sector.

The success of the tourism and hospitality sector depends on international leisure travellers in summer but with travellers from some countries not being allowed in South Africa, this will then affect the sector.

Western Cape's minister of finance and economic opportunities, David Maynier, said, "We will be engaging with the national government and preparing a further submission proposing an alternative to the risk-based approach for international travel. We believe firmly that the safety precautions of a 72 hours PCR test and screening protocols should be applied across the board, regardless of purpose of travel and country of origin."

Government has categorised countries in the following way:

High risk travellers coming from countries with higher numbers of Covid-19 infections and reported deaths compared to South Africa.

Medium risk travellers from countries with relatively equal number of infections and death toll to SA.

Low risk travellers originate from countries with lesser number of infections of Covid-19 and death toll than SA.

Countries currently labelled as high risk are: 

Albania, Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Chile, Columbia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, France, Georgia, Greece, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Jamaica, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Luxemburg, Maldives, Malta, Mexico, Moldova, Montenegro, Nepal, Netherlands, North Macedonia, Oman, Palestine, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Suriname, Switzerland, Ukraine, United Emirates, United Kingdom, USA, Venezuela

The high risk list will be reviewed every two weeks, said International Relations and cooperation minister Naledi Pandor.

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