SA’s borders now open but travellers from high-risk countries still banned

Countries on the high-risk list include the United Kingdom, the United States, India, Russia, France and the Netherlands.

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

CAPE TOWN – As the country’s international borders start to reopen on Thursday, a travel ban will remain in place for leisure travellers from 57 countries deemed to be high risk.

The government made the list known on Wednesday.

Countries on the high-risk list include the United Kingdom, the United States, India, Russia, France and the Netherlands.

Business visitors, diplomats and people with high-skills visas from high-risk countries will, however, be allowed in, as well as all travellers from the African continent.

The travel ban is likely to cause disappointment in the tourism sector, as it includes big markets such as the UK and the US and comes just as the high season starts to get underway.

International Relations Minister Naledi Pandor said that the list was drawn up in terms of World Health Organization criteria and will be reviewed every two weeks, taking into account changing rates of infection and death around the world.

“Travellers for leisure purposes from high-risk countries will not at present be permitted into South Africa. Only persons who are high-skills visa holders, who are investors in the economy of South Africa and diplomats will be allowed entry if they’re from a high-risk country.”

Everyone coming into South Africa will have to produce a COVID-19 test taken at least 72 hours before departure and will be screened on arrival for COVID-19 symptoms and tested, if necessary.

“Every person travelling into South Africa must have travel insurance, in order to cover the cost of the test and should the test be positive, the cost of quarantine.”

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