International flights are due to reopen on October 1 from three airports, including OR Tambo International. | Thobile Mathonsi African News Agency (ANA)
International flights are due to reopen on October 1 from three airports, including OR Tambo International. | Thobile Mathonsi African News Agency (ANA)

Government yet to release travel list of foreign countries

Time of article published Sep 18, 2020

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Val Boje

THE much-anticipated list of which foreign countries' travel to and from South Africa is to be allowed has not yet been released.

Since the announcement that the country was moving to alert level 1 of the lockdown from Monday, and that international leisure travel could resume from October 1, there has been much speculation on which countries would be on the approved list, and which would not, based on their coronavirus infection rates.

However, in a briefing yesterday Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, would not be drawn, saying the ministers involved were working on the list.

President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed the nation on Wednesday after the National Coronavirus Command Council met on Monday; the President’s Co-ordinating Council on Tuesday, and a special sitting of the Cabinet on Wednesday. He commented that “half a year has passed” since the national state of disaster was enacted in response to the coronavirus pandemic and borders were closed.

As the country had “withstood the storm”, many of the remaining restrictions on economic and social activity were to be relaxed, starting from Monday. This includes a cautious easing of restrictions on international travel for business and leisure from October 1.

International travel will resume soon after six months being banned. Picture: Thobile Mathonsi/African News Agency (ANA)

Dlamini Zuma said travel would be allowed to and from African countries, while other international travel would be based on a schedule.

This, she stressed, was not a static list, but would be constantly adapted depending on other countries’ ability to control infection rates.

The ministers concerned – which presumably include tourism and transport – were working with the Minister of Health to compile the list which would be released before the October 1 lifting of restrictions.

International travel will only be via three international airports: OR Tambo, Cape Town International and King Shaka in KwaZulu-Natal. Yesterday OR Tambo’s international section remained closed, with security controlling access.

Inbound travellers would be expected to produce a negative Covid-19 certificate or go into quarantine at their own expense in South Africa.

Rules around arrival procedures in other countries for travellers from South Africa are determined by those countries.

The minister said that applications for visas would be allowed, and that the 18 land borders already open for cargo would provide for the movement of people and tourists to and from neighbouring countries.

The remaining borders remain closed for now, and while ports would be open there will be no disembarkation of passengers from cruise ships.

Inter-provincial domestic travel remains the same but she did issue a reminder of the midnight curfew which prevents people from being on the road in the small hours.

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