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Your Covid-19 questions answered

Which countries have banned SA travellers due to Omicron?

30 November 2021 - 07:00
The list of countries that have banned South African travellers continues to grow amid reports of the new Covid-19 variant Omicron. Stock image.
The list of countries that have banned South African travellers continues to grow amid reports of the new Covid-19 variant Omicron. Stock image.
Image: 123RF/TRANIKOV STUDIO

The list of countries that have banned SA travellers continues to grow due to the new Covid-19 variant Omicron. 

The variant was first detected last week in the country using samples taken between November 14 and 16.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) classified it as a variant "of concern" late last week and gave it the name Omicron.

Where can I not travel to? 

Countries that have banned travellers from SA include the UK, US, EU members, Seychelles, Japan, Turkey, Singapore, Israel, India, Germany, the Netherlands, Canada, Australia Sri Lanka, Oman, Thailand, Brazil, Guatemala, the United Arab Emirates, the Philippines, Rwanda, Angola, Egypt and Mauritius.

TimesLIVE reported that the UK High Commission had informed the department of international relations and co-operation (Dirco) that British Airways will resume direct flights to SA from Tuesday. The airline will provide one daily flight to Cape Town and Johannesburg.

Dirco spokesperson, Clayson Monyela, said Virgin Airlines, which flew three times a week to Johannesburg, had not yet grounded their flights.

In a statement, the Rwandan prime minister’s office said it was suspending all flights to SA. 

“While the variant has not been detected in Rwanda, its effects are potentially dangerous, and therefore Rwandans and residents of Rwanda are required to exercise extra vigilance in the practice and enforcement of preventive measures,” it said

What did the president say?

In his address to the nation on Sunday, President Cyril Ramaphosa slammed travel bans as “unjustified and not informed by science”.

“These restrictions are unjustified and unfairly discriminate against our country and our Southern African sister countries. The prohibition of travel is not informed by science, nor will it be effective in preventing the spread of this variant,” said Ramaphosa. 

“The only thing the prohibition on travel will do is to further damage the economies of the affected countries and undermine their ability to respond to, and recover from, the pandemic.

“We call on all those countries that have imposed travel bans on our country and our Southern African sister countries to urgently reverse their decisions and lift the ban they have imposed before any further damage is done to our economies and the livelihoods of our people.” 


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