6 things you need to know from Naledi Pandor announcing the easing of travel restrictions

01 October 2020 - 07:00
By Unathi Nkanjeni
International relations and co-operation minister Naledi Pandor.
Image: Sunday Times / Simphiwe Nkwali International relations and co-operation minister Naledi Pandor.

Travellers from all African countries are allowed into SA but certain countries from beyond the continent are not, says minister of international relations and co-operation Naledi Pandor.

On Wednesday, ahead of the reopening of international borders, Pandor provided more information on international travel under level 1 of the lockdown.

Here are 6 key takeouts from Pandor's address:

How the reopening will be measured

According to Pandor, SA adopted the World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines on public health considerations for international travel.

“The gradual reopening of borders and ports of entry informed by a cautious approach means that a limited number of ports of entry will be open from October 1.

“By reopening these selected ports of entry and borders, we will be guided by epidemiological and transmission rate both in SA and traveller’s countries of origin.”

How a country's risk level is determined

Pandor said SA developed a risk categorisation model for different international travellers, and the scale ranks from high to medium and low risk.

“High-risk travellers are those who come from countries with higher numbers of Covid-19 infections and reported deaths compared to SA.

“Medium risk travellers are from countries with a relatively equal number of infections and death toll to SA and low-risk travellers obviously originate from countries with a lesser number of infections and death tolls.”

Not all foreign travellers allowed in, but those from neighbouring countries are

Pandor said all travellers from neighbouring countries are allowed to visit.

“To facilitate the free movement of people, goods, and services from SA, Southern African Development Community (Sadc), and the African continent, travellers from neighbouring countries are allowed to visit our country.

“Travellers from all African countries are allowed and must possess relevant travel documents, and will also be screened for Covid-19 symptoms.”

Luxury passenger liners are still not allowed to dock and offload 

She said luxury passenger liners are still not allowed to dock and offload passengers.

“To facilitate ease of transportation of goods and medicines to and from the country, ships will be allowed to dock, load and offload cargo.

“Crew members from cargo ships will be allowed to make crew changes. These members will also be medically screened for Covid-19 symptoms. Passenger liners for luxury travel are still not allowed to dock and offload passengers.”

Your negative Covid-19 test can't be older than 72 hours from time of departure

Travellers will need to present a negative Covid-19 test result not older than 72 hours from the time of departure to enter the country, said Pandor.

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

Which three airports will be open for international travel?

She reiterated that only three airports will be open for international travel.

“Three airports will be opened and operational for international air travel. These airports are OR Tambo International in Gauteng, Cape Town International in the Western Cape, and King Shaka International in KZN.”