SA has brand new entry rules for Covid-19, with antigen tests, recovery certificates, and symptomatic-only self-isolation

Business Insider SA
  • As of late Wednesday night, South Africa has a new set of Covid-19 entry regulations.
  • One dose of any vaccine will get you across the border, as will a certificate of recovery.
  • So will a PCR test, or a certified antigen test no more than two days old.
  • If you can show neither vaccination nor negative test, you should be tested for the coronavirus at the border.
  • But you will only be required to self-isolate if you show Covid-19 symptoms.
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South Africa has a new set of coronavirus entry rules for travellers from 5 May, after a late-night update to regulations, just hours before interim measures were due to lapse.

Health minister Joe Phaahla established the new Covid-19 rules under his power to deal with communicable diseases, replicating restrictions that had been made under the auspices of a national state of disaster, which was withdrawn last month.

Phaahla may now disable the entry rules, as a whole or in part, and then re-impose them again, as he considers necessary to deal with the spread of Covid-19.

Here are the entry rules for South Africa as of 5 May.

You can show proof of Covid-19 vaccination...

Travellers can show a "valid vaccination certificate", as long as it shows at least one dose of any Covid-19 vaccine used in South Africa, or recognised by the World Health Organisation.

... or a negative coronavirus test result, including antigen tests.

Antigen tests must be no more than 48 hours old at the time of departure, and must have been done by “a medical practitioner, registered public health authority or accredited/approved laboratory”.

Recovery certificates are also accepted – for infections in the last three months.

A signed letter of recovery, from a registered health care provider in the country of origin, will also do. But it must come with a PCR test result that is positive for the coronavirus at least 10 days before arrival in South Africa, and no more than 90 days before arrival. 

If you get in without any of those, you will be required to take an antigen test. You will be let in regardless of the result.

Anyone who gets to the border without proof of vaccination, recent recovery, or a valid negative test, must be given an antigen test at the port of entry, under the new rules.

Anyone who tests positive must still be allowed into the country. Only those who both test positive and show symptoms of Covid-19 will be required to self-isolate, for 10 days.

Pre-teens and daily visitors are exempt.

There are no entry requirements for children under 12, and for "daily commuters from neighbouring countries".

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