EDITORIAL | Red list? It’s starting to look more like a blacklist

The UK seems to have unbanned just about every country except SA from its Covid-19 list

20 September 2021 - 19:44

International relations and co-operation minister (Dirco) Naledi Pandor has expressed dismay at the UK’s bizarre decision to keep SA on its so-called Covid-19 red list. There is “no reasonable” basis for this; our government is “shocked” and “very disappointed”. A Dirco statement read: “Thousands of families and business people in SA and the UK are shocked at this continued exclusion, especially given SA’s progress in combating the Covid-19 pandemic, as evidenced by the rapid declining infection rates due to a robust vaccination programme and excellent science.”

According to the red list, anyone travelling from a country on the list needs to follow a set of rules upon entering the UK — “even if you have been fully vaccinated”. These rules include taking a Covid-19 test in the three days before travelling and booking a “quarantine hotel package, including two Covid-19 tests”. Sunday Times Daily columnist Tony Leon recently went through this ordeal, pointing out in his column (https://www.timeslive.co.za/sunday-times-daily/opinion-and-analysis/2021-08-03-tony-leon-sa-should-insist-the-uk-changes-its-ludicrous-covid-travel-curbs/) the absurdity of it all: as he and his wife arrived in the UK, they were required to proceed to their “isolation” address on their own. “So, great though the theoretical risk might be that two high-risk South Africans might be carriers of the dread plague, we proceeded for three hours in two fairly crowded trains to the site of our isolation,” wrote Leon. ..

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