South Africa has opened its borders to travellers the first time since it went into Covid-19 lockdown in March. But travellers will be subject to conditions, including a valid negative coronavirus test, and the door is not open to all countries, rfi reports.
“To allow ease of travel from the African countries, 18 borders will be opened,” said International Relations Minister Naledi Pandor on Wednesday, adding that anyone coming from the US, France, UK, India, Russia, Switzerland, or the Netherlands will not be allowed in.
South Africa has the highest amount of cases on the African continent with 674,000 confirmed cases, but it will not be allowing citizens from those countries with higher Covid-19 infection rates.
There are notable exceptions outside the tourism sector: “Only citizens who are investors, diplomats, high-skills visa holders and businesspeople will be allowed,” Pandor added.
Tourists from the non-blacklisted countries are encouraged to visit South Africa, but cruise ships will not be allowed to dock and off-load passengers.
The three international airports, including Oliver Tambo International in Johannesburg, King Shaka in Durban, and Cape Town International will be open, as well as a limited number of land borders.
The negative tests will need to be no more than 72 hours before travel, but passengers will also be subject to additional Covid-19 screening. If a tourist test positive, they will be quarantined and will have to pay for all their own expenses.
While the list seems to apply to essential measures, in reality, governments are putting in place arbitrary measures that resemble the patchwork standards that came from the 9/11 attacks in New York, says Linden Birns, aviation expert and head of Plane Talking, a public relations organisation in South Africa.