Picture: Anugrah Lohiya from Pexels.
Picture: Anugrah Lohiya from Pexels.

Covid-19: What happens when you return to SA after an international flight

By Clinton Moodley Time of article published Mar 17, 2020

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When we returned to South Africa on Monday, we did not know what to expect. 

“Would our group undergo strict health tests?”

“Would we be asked to be quarantined?”

“What would happen if they do not let us back into the country?”

Since the news broke about coronavirus hitting South African shores, people have been on edge. Travellers returning to the country do not know what to expect. 

President Ramaphosa said this week: “South African citizens returning from high-risk countries will be subjected to testing and self-isolation or quarantine on return to South Africa. Travellers from medium-risk countries, such as Portugal, Hong Kong and Singapore, will be required to undergo high-intensity screening. 

“All travellers who have entered South Africa from high-risk countries since mid-February will be required to present themselves for testing.”

And, it seems the South African government is quite serious about making sure that they are one step ahead of the virus. 

The country will strengthen surveillance, screening and testing measures at OR Tambo, Cape Town and King Shaka International Airports. 

Arrival 

When I arrived at OR Tambo International Airport, I headed towards Immigrations. Before I had my documents checked, a health officer did a check to see whether I had the virus. He told me to remove my glasses and look straight at the thermometer gun, which he pointed at my forehead. 

The thermometer gun is believed to check whether someone shows any signs of the virus. If they do, it will beep. Mine did not. 

The whole process took a minute or so. Travellers should monitor their health via self-isolation for 14 days after they arrive from their trip. 

Attempts to get more information from the spokesperson for the Minister of Home Affairs Siya Qoza were futile. 

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