Following the discovery of Variant B.1.1.529, South Africa has been placed back on the UK’s Red List. The decision was described as a decisive precautionary action against this new COVID-19 variant by introducing travel restrictions on arrivals from South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, Zimbabwe and Namibia from midday, Friday November 26.
Allegations that flights will resume to the UK have been sparked following an update from the Department of International Relations.
According to Spokesperson Clayson Monyela, the UK High Commission has confirmed that British Airways will resume direct flights to South Africa from Tuesday, with the first flight to London on Wednesday. Virgin Airlines will also continue flying three times a week into South Africa.
JUST IN: Dep of International Relations says info received from the UK in SA, British Airways will resume direct flights to SA from Tuesday, 30 Nov with the first flight to London on Wednesday.
One daily flight to CPT & OR Tambo.
1 daily flight to Cape Town & ORTIA. #eNCA
— Heidi Giokos (@HeidiGiokos) November 28, 2021
In another statement, the the Department of International Relations says:
The Government of South Africa has noted the announcement by the United Kingdom (UK) to temporarily ban all flights from the Southern parts of Africa, including South Africa from entering the UK due to the detection of a new coronavirus variant B.1.1.529.
Whilst South Africa respects the right of all countries to take the necessary precautionary measures to protect their citizens, the UK’s decision to temporarily ban South Africans from entering the UK seems to have been rushed as even the World Health Organisation is yet to advise on the next steps.
Minister Naledi Pandor said: “Our immediate concern is the damage that this decision will cause to both the tourism industries and businesses of both countries”.
South Africa will engage the UK Government with the view to persuade them to reconsider this decision.
SA currently remains on the Red List. It is required that passengers are British or Irish Nationals, or UK residents. A British National booked on the Wednesday BA flight has confirmed that further requirements include:
- A PCR test within 72 hours prior to departure
- Completion of a passenger locator form
- A confirmed booking at a registered quarantine hotel in the UK including 2 COVID-19 tests
Picture: Simple Wikimedia