JOHANNESBURG, South Africa – The government has released a revised list of high-risk countries for international travel. The new list indicates a significant decrease in countries from where travellers are not allowed to enter South African borders.
In a statement, the Department of Home Affairs said: “We continue to be reminded that the Covid-19 pandemic is still with us and we need to continue to take precautions. In its last meeting, the Cabinet instructed the ministers of Health, Home Affairs and Tourism to lead a process to review the list. The review of the list of high-risk countries was done in such a way that it strikes a balance between saving lives and protecting livelihoods.”
The department said that nothing had changed as far as all travellers from the continent of Africa were concerned.
“People from high-risk countries who may visit SA fall in the following categories: business travellers, holders of critical skills visas, investors, and people on international missions in sports, arts, culture, and science.
“In addition, we recognise that there are a number of regular visitors from mainly European countries that have been accustomed to long visits to our country during our summer season when it is winter in the Northern Hemisphere,” it said.
The new list now contains 22 countries instead of the 57 previously listed. The announcement follows concerns from tourism lobby groups who have said the list could have a devastating impact on tourism revenue.
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Under the regulations, business travellers must request permission from the department to travel from high-risk countries to South Africa.
In addition, all travelers are required to produce proof of a negative Covid-19 test result not older than 72 hours from the time of departure, supplemented by screening on arrival and antigen testing at the airport, should they fail to pass screening protocols.
Most recently a number of business executives and immigration attorneys have sent emails to the Department of Home Affairs requesting permission to travel for business to high-risk countries and back. There had been no responses since the reopening of international travel on October1.
The department said that within the first two weeks that the Covid19BusinessTravel@dha.gov.za email address had been in operation, 4 701 applications were received, mostly from investors in agriculture, manufacturing, mining, and tourism.
Of these applications, 3 113 have been approved.