Only travellers with valid Covid-19 PCR tests will be allowed into South Africa - Motsoaledi
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Cape Town - Travellers will not be allowed to cross the country's borders without valid testing to detect Covid-19, Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said, as he briefed the media on immigration and border law enforcement under Alert Level 3.
“Only travellers with valid PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests are allowed into the country.
“Alternatively, those without a PCR test will be subjected to rapid antigen tests at the port of entry at their own cost. South Africa will not allow any traveller into the country without a valid PCR test or the antigen test for Covid-19.
“Only truck drivers are exempted from this test's requirements, as was the case at the beginning of the lockdown,” Motsoaledi said.
The Department of Health, via its Port Health unit, will deploy officials to all ports of entry to ensure that only travellers with valid PCR tests are allowed into the country.
Both private laboratories and military health services will assist with testing, and more than 259 Port Health officials will also be deployed to all ports of entry, in addition to 278 contract community service personnel, he said.
Home Affairs will also deploy an additional 160 officials at the country's six busiest land ports of entry to process returning travellers until January 14 next year.
The busy ports of entry are Beitbridge Border Post with Zimbabwe, Lebombo Border Post with Mozambique, Oshoek Border Post with the Kingdom of Eswatini, Maseru Bridge with Lesotho, Ficksburg with Lesotho, and Kopfontein with Botswana.
The Cross Border Road Transport Agency will also deploy inspectors at Beitbridge, Lebombo, Maseru Bridge and Ficksburg for the same duration.
“Another 60 additional immigration law enforcement officers will be deployed to support the SA National Defence Force at identified high risk areas along the borderline where people have a tendency to cross illegally into South Africa.
“The immigration officers and the soldiers are not there to stop people from coming into South Africa.
“They are there to insist that anybody wishing to visit South Africa must use the official gates of entry and produce all the requisite documentation, otherwise, they won't be allowed in,” Motsoaledi said.
The Provincial Joints (Prov-Joints) have also been activated for policing and will conduct roadblocks and vehicle control points within the border law enforcement area.
Motsoaledi added that the Kosibay Border Post between KwaZulu-Natal and Mozambique, which has been closed since the beginning of the lockdown in March this year, will be opened from January 1.