“We will be allowing travel into and out of South Africa for business, leisure and other travel with effect from 1 October 2020,” President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Wednesday (16 September) in a national address on developments in the country’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It is time to move to what we will call our new normal,” Ramaphosa said. “It is time to remove as many restrictions on the economic and social activity as it is safe to do.”
Travellers to the country will be granted entry through one of three airports – OR Tambo (Johannesburg), King Shaka International (Durban) and Cape Town International.
Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) welcomed the announcement. It said: “Our three international airports, OR Tambo, King Shaka and Cape Town are ready to facilitate cross-border travel and will continue to adhere to the measures and protocols that have been in place for domestic travel over the past few months.”
Travellers into South Africa will be urged to download the ‘COVID Alert South Africa’ mobile contact tracing app and must comply with the following requirements:
- On arrival, travellers will need to present a negative COVID-19 test result not older than 72 hours from time of departure;
- All travellers will be screened on arrival and those presenting with symptoms will be required to have Covid-19 test; and
- Where necessary, travellers will need to enter mandatory quarantine facilities at their own cost.
“We expect the number of international passengers to grow gradually, as this is an important step on the road to recovery. We greatly look forward to once again welcoming international visitors to our International Airports and to South Africa,” ACSA added.
South Africa’s tourism has been hard-hit by the coronavirus pandemic and the easing of travel restrictions is expected to kickstart the sector, which is important to the country’s economy.
Since March 2020 when the coronavirus pandemic broke out, more than 15,000 people in the country have died of the virus and over 650,000 infections have been recorded. South Africa’s infection rate is steadily decreasing, but Ramaphosa emphasised the necessity to avoid a second wave of the virus.
South Africa is one of several African countries that are recommencing international flights suspended since March because of the COVID‐19 pandemic.