Your guide for travel to SA amid COVID-19

Friday, October 2, 2020

A polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test certificate not older than 72 hours and travel insurance are just some of the requirements for travellers to South Africa upon arrival on the country’s shores.  

On Friday, Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula provided details on the requirements for travellers following the reopening of borders to international travellers with effect from 01 October 2020.

Guided by the communique published by the World Health Organisation, South Africa is gradually reopening its international borders for business, leisure and other travel with exception of high risk countries.

“Travellers intending to visit the country will be expected to produce a PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test that is not older than 72 hours from the time of departure from the country of origin to South Africa,” said the Minister.

In addition to the PCR test, international travellers are required to have a mandatory travel insurance to cover their COVID-19 test and quarantine costs.

Passengers who are unable to produce a PCR test will be subjected to a compulsory quarantine at a designated government facility, at their own cost.

Three airports will be opened and operational for international air travel. These airports are OR Tambo International, Cape Town International and King Shaka International.

While in transit, passengers will be required to wear facemasks at all times except in the case of an emergency or when instructed by the cabin crew to take them off. Children under the age of two years are exempt from wearing facemasks during the flight.

“This is because a mask can restrict breathing for small children as their airways are smaller than older children and adults,” said the Minister.

Passengers are also required to observe social distancing, ensure hand washing and sanitise regularly.

Passengers that are unable to wear a face mask due to an underlying health condition must submit a medical certificate from a registered medical practitioner to their airline upon departure.

If a passenger is asymptomatic, the necessary protocols of the Health department will be followed.

“The virus is still with us and any careless actions from our side will determine if we remain on alert level 1 for longer or not, we are exercising extra caution as we open international travel,” said the Minister.

Exemptions for business travellers from high risk countries

International travel from countries listed as having a high COVID-19 infection and transmission rate is prohibited except for business travel, which may be allowed with the approval of the Cabinet member responsible for Home Affairs.

Travellers from South Africa to other countries

With regard to travellers from South Africa to other countries, passengers must provide their airlines with a PCR test certificate or a valid negative COVID-19 test.

Airlines are responsible for ensuring that passengers comply with the COVID-19 regulations of the country of destination. – SAnews.gov.za

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