Lockdown applies to international tourists too, says Tourism Ministry
Johannesburg - Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane has issued a letter to all establishments, including AirBnB, requesting information about international tourists in the country.
In a statement on the Department of Tourism’s website, the government said it was applying strict protocols for international tourists in the country.
This as South Africa has been in a State of Disaster for more than a week and prepares for a lockdown which takes effect at midnight on Thursday.
On Monday night, President Cyril Ramaphosa stepped up government’s efforts to combat the rapidly spreading virus when he announced the 21-day lockdown.
This means South Africans have to stay home to contain the virus, but essential service personnel including the police, the army, doctors and nurses are exempt.
Confirmed coronavirus cases in the country jumped to 554 on Tuesday, with Health Minister Zweli Mkhize warning the number would continue to grow.
Kubayi-Ngubane said they wanted private establishments to disclose the itinerary of international tourists.
“A letter has been issued to all establishments including AirBnB immediately to provide details of tourists who are still accommodated within their establishments, their activity, movement and itinerary, and date of arrival in the country,” the Tourism Ministry said in a statement.
“The introduction of the measures, as announced by the president, are a response to the unprecedented crisis facing our country and the world over.
“The number of coronavirus infections continues to increase, world markets have gone into a tailspin and the pandemic threatens human lives in all parts of the world and has altered life as we know it,” said Kubayi-Ngubane.
The minister said no one was allowed to leave their homes in-line with the lockdown and she said she was aware this would have adverse effects on the tourism industry.
She reiterated that South Africans who had returned from high-risk coronavirus countries such as China, Italy, Iran, South Korea, the UK and the US, would be placed under quarantine for 14 days.
“International travellers who arrived in South Africa after 9 March 2020 from high-risk countries will be confined to their hotels until they have completed a 14-day period of quarantine.
“All tourists from high-risk countries have already had their visas revoked last week when the State of Disaster was declared by the President, alongside travel bans of people from countries that have been heavily impacted by Covid-19 including China, Germany, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom, France, South Korea, Switzerland and the United States.
“We urge all tourism stakeholders particularly accommodation owners to cooperate and make sure no one leaves unless they have a ticket booked and are catching the next flight home,” said the minister.
She appealed to tour operators to be responsible.
“We appeal to tour operators and tourist guides to act responsibly so that the country can avoid risky situations wherein a person or persons are tested positive but still do tours in the country,” she said.IOL