Hunters from the US and much of Western Europe will not be among the travelers allowed to enter South Africa when that country reopens its borders on October 1st, 2020. At a press conference on Wednesday, September 30, South Africa’s Minister of International Relations Naledi Pandor announced how South Africa will red list countries considered high risk for Coronavirus. Among the listed countries are the US, the UK, and numerous EU members, among others for a total of 60 destinations in all.
SCI members will remember that South African President Cyril Ramaphosa had announced in mid-September that South Africa would open for business and tourism travel on October 1, 2020. Among the caveats he provided was a statement that travelers from any high-risk country would not be allowed entry. He promised a list of those countries would be issued before the reopening.
On the eve of that reopening, Minister Pandor clarified the criteria used to determine which countries are high risk and announced which countries are listed. The risk levels of destinations are based on World Health Organization guidelines that consider COVID-19 infection numbers and deaths over a seven-day period. South African authorities have determined their country’s average and categorized all countries with a higher average as high risk. Countries with a similar average are medium risk, and those with a lower average are low risk.
Business and leisure travelers from medium and low risk countries will be allowed to enter South Africa. All travelers from the African continents may also enter South Africa. While tourists from high risk countries are banned, business travelers with scarce and critical skills, including diplomats, repatriated persons, investors and people participating in professional sporting and cultural events, will be allowed entry.
All travelers who enter South Africa must comply with several requirements, including a negative PCR test and travel insurance covering COVID-19 related expenses. The PCR test must be no older than 72 hours from the time of departure from the traveler’s country of origin. The test must be conducted by a certified medical practitioner, and the certificate must show the name and signature of the practitioner. Upon arrival, travelers will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms. Should the traveler present any symptoms, they will be required to take another test and quarantine for 10 days at their expense, which travel insurance should cover.
Travelers are also encouraged to download South Africa’s COVID-19 Alert App, which informs users when they have been in contact with another user who has tested positive for Coronavirus. Pandor says they believe South Africa has implemented sufficient measures to mitigate a resurgence and will continually monitor the list of countries for changes in infection and death rates, as well as South Africa’s.
The list will be reviewed every two weeks. The countries/destinations currently considered high risk include:
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Costa Rica
- Czech Republic
- North Macedonia
- Puerto Rico
- United Emirates
- United Kingdom