Foreign travel guaranteed only to and from other African countries, cruise ships not welcome

Business Insider SA
Africa highlighted.
  • When international travel opens on 1 October, trips to and from other countries on the "African continent" will definitely be okay.
  • They'll still need a negative, recent coronavirus test, though.
  • For all other countries, South Africa's borders may be closed depending on their rate of coronavirus infections.
  • How that list will be determined is not yet know.
  • Nor how often the list may change, or even when the first version will be available.
  • Cruise ships are still not welcome.
  • For more stories go to

South Africa will allow international travel as of 1 October – to and from countries elsewhere in Africa.

For all other countries, Level 1 means that access to South Africa is dependent on their level of coronavirus infection and transmission.

The partial reopening of South Africa's borders is unconditional only for the countries of the "African continent", according to rules gazetted on Friday afternoon.

(It is not yet clear if that definition is limited to mainland Africa, or whether it includes Cape Verde, the Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius, São Tomé and Príncipe, and the Seychelles.)

"Generally, it is allowed," said cooperative governance and traditional affairs minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma of international travel, "except for those countries who will have high infections. And even for them, it's not permanent, it will depend on what happens to their infections; if they’re under control, then they will also be allowed."

Dlamini-Zuma could not say when such a list may be published, except that “ideally it should be before we get into Level 1" – which commences at 00:01 on Monday.

But she warned that "this is not a static list, it’s a list that will be changing all the time".

The health ministry would help other parts of government determine which countries should be listed, Dlamini-Zuma said, without disclosing what criteria may be used.

Some other countries use new infections recorded over the course of a week to draw up red lists (of countries from where travel is not allowed, or from where travellers must quarantine on arrival) or green lists (which exclude travellers originating there from quarantine or other measures).

In the case of the United Kingdom, infection levels must be below 20 new cases per 100,000 of the population over the previous seven days. In Germany, this figure is 50 new cases per 100,000 over the last week.

For countries with high infection rates, travel to and from South Africa will still be allowed for "business travel", with the approval of the minister of home affairs, under the new regulations.

Every incoming traveller, including those from elsewhere in Africa, will be required to present a negative coronavirus test no more than 72 hours old. Those who can not do so will be required to pay for quarantine accommodation, under the rules, and that will also apply to returning South Africans, Dlamini-Zuma said.

Sea ports will remain closed for the disembarkation of cruise ship passengers, Dlamini-Zuma said.

The 18 land border posts currently open for cargo will be open to tourists too, under the new rules, but the 35 other land crossings will remain closed.

(Compiled by Phillip de Wet)

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