‘Leisure travellers from high risk countries not permitted in SA’ says Pandor

Minister of Higher Education Naledi Pandor. (Photo by Gallo Images / Sunday Times /Simphiwe Nkwali)

Government has developed a risk categorisation model for different international travellers, which will assist in classifying the travellers according to a scale of high, medium and low risk.

The Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Naledi Pandor has issued the measures on the re-opening of borders and ports of entry for international travellers under Lockdown Level 1.

During a media briefing on Wednesday, 30 September, Pandor noted President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement that that international travel was set to resume on Thursday, 1 October.

Pandor said that travellers intending to visit South Africa would be expected to produce a PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test that was not older than 72 hours from the time of departure from their destination.

“This test must be conducted by a certified medical practitioner and should have the name and signature of the practitioner who conducted such test.

“Upon arrival in the port of entry, the traveller will be screened for any symptoms or for contact with people who have been infected with the Covid-19 virus.”

The Minister also confirmed that travellers would 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 persons, 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.”

She continued to say that government have already developed a risk categorisation model for different international travellers, which will assist in classifying the travellers according to a scale of high, medium and low risk.

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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 obviously originate from countries with lesser number of infections of Covid-19 and death toll than South Africa.

She said that leisure travellers from high risk countries were not be permitted in the country.

“However, 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.

“If the passport of the traveller from a high risk country indicates that he/she has spent 10 days or more in a low risk country before departure, he/she will be considered to be arriving from a low risk country.”

Pandor added that travellers from medium and low risk countries would only be allowed into the country subject to the prevailing visa requirements.

She further said that airlines from high risk countries were not necessarily banned, but the crew would be required to isolate in facilities at designated accommodation at the cost of their employer.

“Long term visa holders who visit the country for business purposes will be allowed to travel to South Africa. These travellers will also be subject to health screenings for Covid-19 symptoms at the port of entry.

“In the interest of all citizens, and the continuing public health efforts, South Africa reserves the right to deny entry of any traveller who is travelling from a high risk country for tourism purposes.”

The Minister reiterated that only three airports will be operational which is OR Tambo International, King Shaka Airport, and Cape Town International airport, as announced by Ramaphosa.

On travellers from African countries, she said that they were allowed in South Africa in order to facilitate free movements of people, goods and services from South Africa, Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the continent.

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“Travellers from all African countries are allowed and must possess relevant travel documents, and will also be screened for Covid-19 symptoms.”

Pandor said 18 borders would be opened while 35 border posts would continue to offer restricted services due to insufficient capacity for screening, testing and quarantine to allow ease of travel from the African countries.

“Travellers who present themselves at borders which are unable to accommodate them will be directed to the currently operational border posts for processing.

“Daily commuters who reside in cross-border areas/towns and those who are from neighbouring countries including those with relevant work permits and school children and teachers will be allowed to enter and exit the borders for work purposes.

“These commuters will be screened for Covid-19 symptoms and where necessary will be subjected to quarantine and isolation. Furthermore, these commuters will be expected to wear face masks, wash hands and sanitise regularly and practise social distancing measures.”

On sea ports operations, she said that ships will be allowed to dock, load and off-load cargo. Crew members from the cargo ships will be allowed to crew changes to facilitate ease of transportation of goods and medicines to and from the country.

“These crew members will also be medically screened for Covid-19 symptoms. Passenger liners for luxury travel are still not allowed to dock and off-load passengers.”

List of high-risk countries:

Albania                                     Brazil                            France                          India

Argentina                                  Chile                            Georgia                         Iran

Armenia                                    Columbia                     Greece                         Iraq

Austria                                      Costa Rica                    Guatemala                   Ireland

Bahrain                                     Croatia                          Guyana                        Israel

Belgium                                    Czech Republic            Honduras                    Jamaica

Bolivia                                       Denmark                      Hungary                       Jordan

Bosnia and Herzegovina       Ecuador                        Iceland                         Kuwait

Lebanon                                    Nepal                             Peru                             Suriname

Luxemburg                               Netherlands                 Portugal                      Switzerland

Maldives                                   North Macedonia        Puerto Rico                 Ukraine

Malta                                         Oman                            Qatar                            United Emirates

Mexico                                      Palestine                       Romania                      United Kingdom

Moldova                                   Panama                         Russia                          USA

Montenegro                            Paraguay                        Slovakia                      Venezuela

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