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SA shunned yet again. Here's everything you need to know about the travel bans

Travel bans to and from South Africa and other African countries continue due to concerns over Variant B.1.1.529. Picture: Pexels.

Travel bans to and from South Africa and other African countries continue due to concerns over Variant B.1.1.529. Picture: Pexels.

Published Nov 27, 2021


South Africa is in the same position it was in a few months ago: shunned by international destinations due to Covid-19 fears.

As travel bans against SA rise, it could potentially disrupt the country's summer season.

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What's going on?

On Friday, the UK government announced new precautionary travel restrictions after a new variant, Variant B.1.1.529, was detected in South Africa, Botswana and Hong Kong.

UK placed South Africa and five other destinations, including Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, Zimbabwe and Namibia, back on the red list. It was a Black Friday as flights to and from South Africa were cancelled over the weekend. Israel also imposed a ban on the entry of travellers from seven African countries, including South Africa.

By Friday afternoon, other destinations followed suit. Mauritius announced that the country will suspend all commercial flights from South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Namibia and Eswatini from Monday, November 29 until Friday, December 31, 2021. The country reopened to South African travellers in October and had been a trending summer destination.

"All passengers landing in Mauritius from these countries over the coming weekend will be subject to a mandatory PCR test which will be performed at the airport. In addition, they will have to undergo PCR tests on day 7 and day 14.

"This decision is deemed necessary to protect the safety and security of our citizens, residents and visitors," Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority (MTPA)said in a statement.

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Arvind Bundhun, Director of the Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority, said Mauritius looked forward to welcoming visitors from these countries as soon as the public health situation improved.

“Since the onset of the pandemic, Mauritius has imposed one of the most efficient pandemic responses. Maintaining this approach necessitates that we continue to follow a strict, public health-first approach in our

Covid policies, including caution on inbound travel," he said.

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The Netherlands also imposed a ban on South Africa, Lesotho, Eswatini, Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe. Passengers flying KLM from South Africa to the Netherlands will only be permitted to board if they comply with the entry restrictions imposed by the Dutch government.

The entry ban does not apply to the repatriation of people carrying Dutch passports, EU citizens, Schengen residents, medical emergency staff, ships’ crew, airline staff and people travelling under exceptional circumstances, such as family emergencies.

Other countries that imposed restrictions include Germany, Malaysia, Seychelles, Japan, European Union states and the US.

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More countries may impose travel bans on South Africa and other African countries.