A variety of high-risk countries, including the United States of America and the United Kingdom, are banned from entering the country for leisure purposes. This announcement was made during a media briefing on Wednesday, September 30.

Minister Naledi Pandor announced that South Africa has developed a risk categorisation model for different international travellers.

This model classifies international travellers according to a scale of high, medium and low risk.  High-risk travellers are those who come from countries with higher numbers of COVID-19 infections and reported deaths compared to South Africa.

Medium-risk travellers are from countries with relatively equal number of infections and death toll to South Africa and low risk travellers originate from countries with lesser number of infections of COVID-19 and death toll than South Africa.

Leisure travellers from countries deemed high-risk will not be allowed in South Africa. The exception will be business travellers with scarce and critical skills including diplomats, repatriated persons, investors and people participating in professional sporting and cultural events will undergo the same health protocol screenings.

Leisure travellers from medium- and low-risk countries will only be allowed into the country subject to the prevailing visa requirements. Travellers from all African countries are allowed and must possess relevant travel documents, and will also be screened for COVID-19 symptoms.

Minister Aaron Motsoaledi announced that countries on the high-risk list include Puerto Rico, Romania, Russia, Qatar, St Martin, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos, Ukraine, USA, UK, Virgin islands, Venezuela, Dominican Republic, France, French Polynesia, Greece, Guatemala, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jamaica, Lebanon, Maldives, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, Montenegro, The Netherlands, Nepal, North Macedona, Oman, Portugal, Palestine and others.

The status of these countries are not final. Data will be reviewed every two weeks, and categories may change based on the data.

“Travellers intending to visit the country will be expected to produce a PCR  (polymerase chain reaction) test that is not older than 72 hours from the time of departure from the country of origin to South Africa. This test must be conducted by a certified medical practitioner and should have the name and signature of the practitioner who conducted such test,” said Pandor.

“Upon arrival in the port of entry, the traveller will be screened for any COVID-19 symptoms or for contact with people who have been infected with the COVID-19 virus. Travellers will also need to provide proof of accommodation address should they need to  self-quarantine at the time of arrival in the country.”

Should the traveller display any COVID-19–related symptoms or been in contact with an infected person(s), they will be expected to take a mandatory COVID-19 test.  This test will be at the traveller’s cost.  If the COVID-19 test comes back positive, the traveller will be subjected to a 10-day quarantine at a designated site.  The accommodation at a quarantine site will be at the traveller’s cost.

Those who wish to be repatriated will be allowed to travel internationally.

All visas that may have expired during the lockdown period remain valid until January 31, 2021.

Three airports will be opened and operational for international air travel.  These airports are OR Tambo International (in Johannesburg, Gauteng), Cape Town International (in Cape Town, Western Cape) and King Shaka International ( in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal).

Picture: screenshot from livestream

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