RALEIGH, NC - NOVEMBER 29:  A scenic view of aircr
  • Germans are formally cleared for visa-free travel to South Africa, Germany's ambassador to SA announced.
  • Unconfirmed reports of cancellations notwithstanding, Emirates flights into SA still seem to be going ahead.
  • Airlines have privately expressed concerns about SA's red-list system, and are worried about how crew may be treated in the event of a coronavirus case aboard their flights.
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

Airlines have been formally told that visitors from Germany are welcome in South Africa, without visas, German ambassador to South Africa Martin Schäfer announced on Saturday.

Germans may now board flights to SA, he said.

Germany had not been included in South Africa's red list, of countries from which leisure travellers are not welcome, but somewhat controversially so. 

See also | Germany, but not Austria or Switzerland? Tourism companies want SA’s travel red list explained

While flight schedules remained confused on the weekend, many foreign airlines still had flights scheduled, confirmed, or in the air to South Africa.

That included Emirates – despite reports on Saturday that it had cancelled all flights to South Africa. Though the company had neither confirmed nor denied those reports by the time of publication, and did not immediately respond to questions, there had been no changes to its schedule of flights.

Airlines have privately expressed concerns about South Africa's risk-adjusted travel regime, concerns similar to those raised by local tourism bodies, including what they see as the unpredictable nature of SA's red list – and the lack of a clear formula for how it is arrived at.

Airlines are also concerned for crew, in the absence of any clear indication of what will happen to crew should a case of the coronavirus be detected on an inbound flight. They also fear that entire crews may be forced into quarantine if one crew member tests positive, as is the case for families travelling together.

A clear and unequivocal indication that crew will not be quarantined even if they test negative for the virus, and that they will not be denied entry to a return flight, was still being sought from the government, one representative said.

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