The UK Department for Transport says SA will remain on red list...for now. Picture: Pexels.
The UK Department for Transport says SA will remain on red list...for now. Picture: Pexels.

SA to remain on UK red list, but SATSA is having none of it

By Clinton Moodley Time of article published Aug 25, 2021

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A petition by Ben Cope to remove South Africa from the travel red list is slowly gaining momentum. However, it seems the UK won't budge on its decision.

The petition has received more than 27 000 signatures.

In response to a UK petition, “Remove South Africa from the travel “Red List'’, the UK Department for Transport revealed why they won't remove South Africa from the red list.

"Ministerial decisions on allocations to the red list are informed by the latest scientific data and public health advice to protect public health and the vaccine rollout from variants of concern," it explained.

"At the most recent review on 4 August, it was decided that South Africa would remain on the red list as South Africa continues to present a high public health risk to the UK from known variants of concern.

"We will not compromise on the progress we have made on our vaccine programme by allowing people to freely mix abroad and return or travel to the UK without proper checks and procedures. This is just the start for opening international travel, with the UK leading the way with a robust system," the department stated in their response.

Seething

David Frost, the CEO of SATSA, said all the evidence suggests South Africa should move to the amber list.

"The British Government has repeatedly claimed the Beta variant (first identified in South Africa) is a variant of concern. Yet, AstraZeneca has formally announced their vaccine provides “good to excellent protection” against it. Moreover, due to Beta’s low transmissibility, it now represents under 4% of cases in South Africa, with over 90% of cases being the Delta variant, the same variant dominant in the UK," he explained.

Frost said South Africa’s infection rate is tracking well below the UK and several European countries on the amber list.

"Following the evidence, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Switzerland, the US and China are among those which have all reopened travel to South Africa. The UK’s response looks increasingly anomalous.

“The British Government is treating people who have signed the petition to remove South Africa from the red list with contempt. If it disagrees with recent scientific assessments of South Africa’s safety, it should say why.

"There are over 1.5 million South Africans whose livelihoods depend on income from tourism. The UK owes these people a better explanation for why it continues to maintain travel restrictions which every day look more and more discriminatory," he said.

View the petition here.

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