SA’s red list just went from 60 to 22 countries – but US and UK tourists are still banned

Business Insider SA
Travel bans
(Constantine Johnny, Getty)
  • The list of countries South Africa considers at high risk for the coronavirus – and from which tourists are banned – dropped from 60 to 22 on Monday. 
  • The new red list still includes India, the UK, and the USA.
  • Germany and Canada are among the seven countries newly listed.
  • Visitors from the remaining high-risk countries will now be welcome as long as they stay for three months or more, the department of home affairs says.
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South Africa's red list, of countries from which tourists are not welcome, now stands at 22, down from an initial 60.

But still on the list are several countries that represent important markets for South Africa's tourist offerings.

Countries on the African continent are automatically excluded from the list, and it does not apply to business travellers, or others who are not travelling for leisure, including diplomats and sportspeople.

See also | SA’s business travel rules: Your test is good for 14 days, and you can beg at the border

It will now also no longer apply to longer-term visitors, the department of home affairs (DHA) said in a statement.

The government recognises "that there are a number of regular visitors from mainly European countries that have been accustomed to long periods of visitation to our country during our summer season when it is winter in the Northern Hemisphere," said the DHA.

"Most of them own properties in the country. We appreciate the significant economic contribution that they make through their activities in the country. To this end, we will also allow visitors, in whichever category, who are coming to stay for a three months period or more subject to Covid-19 protocols."

See also | Please don’t use it, govt says, but SA will soon offer travellers tests on arrival

The government has not disclosed exactly how it came up with the initial list, or how it determined the new 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 DHA said. The 

Here is the full list of high-risk countries, from which tourists may not visit South Africa, as of 19 October:

  • Argentina
  • Bangladesh
  • Belgium
  • Brazil
  • Canada
  • Chile
  • Colombia
  • France
  • Germany
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Iran
  • Iraq
  • Italy
  • Mexico
  • The Netherlands
  • Peru
  • The Philippines
  • Russia
  • Spain
  • The United Kingdom
  • The United States of America

Border officials are instructed to turn away tourists from those countries should they reach South Africa.

Seven of those countries did not appear on the initial red list, which means their tourists are effectively newly banned.

The countries from which tourists were previously welcome, but no more, are:

  • Bangladesh
  • Canada
  • Germany
  • Indonesia
  • Italy
  • The Philippines
  • Spain

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