SA to reopen orders to most countries on 1 October

Restrictions on movement and business have been gradually eased since June, but borders have remained sealed to avoid importing the virus from abroad.

Passengers wearing protective face masks arrive at the OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, on 2 March 2020 amid concerns about the spread of the COVID-19 epidemic caused by the new coronavirus. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG – President Cyril Ramaphosa said Wednesday that borders will reopen to most countries next month as the country further eases anti-coronavirus measures.

The continent’s most industrialised economy shuttered its borders at the start of a strict lockdown on 27 March to limit the spread of the virus.

Restrictions on movement and business have been gradually eased since June, but borders have remained sealed to avoid importing the virus from abroad.

“We will gradually and cautiously ease restrictions on international travel… allowing travel into and out of South Africa for business, leisure and other travel with effect from the 1st of October 2020,” Ramaphosa said in an address to the nation.

“Travel may be restricted to and from certain countries that have high infection rates,” he added.

“A list of those countries will be published and it will be based on the latest scientific data that we will be able to get from those countries.”

South Africa has been particularly hard-hit by the pandemic, with more than 650,000 infections and over 15,600 deaths recorded to date — around half the total number of cases detected on the continent.

Ramaphosa said the country had “succeeded in overcoming the worst” of its outbreak.

He noted that the number of new cases had dropped from an average of 12,000 per day at “the height of the storm” in July to fewer than 2,000.

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