Ready to scratch your travel itch? Here's what to expect at airports before jetting off

18 September 2020 - 10:31
The country will gradually and cautiously ease restrictions on international travel for business, leisure and other travel with effect from October 1.
The country will gradually and cautiously ease restrictions on international travel for business, leisure and other travel with effect from October 1.
Image: 123RF / Iakovenko

Airports Company SA (Acsa) has shared updated travel regulations for travellers and what can be expected at the airport when flying internationally.

This comes after President Cyril Ramaphosa gave the green light on the reopening of international borders. On Wednesday, Ramaphosa said SA would move to alert level 1 at midnight on Sunday.

He said the country would gradually and cautiously ease restrictions on international travel for business, leisure and other travel with effect from October 1.

Travellers will be allowed to travel into and out of SA from countries deemed less high risk for Covid-19. A list of countries deemed high risk will be made available in the next few days.

Welcoming the announcement, Acsa CEO Mpumi Mpofu shared what travellers can expect when they travel to and from international destinations.

“We will be guided by specific regulations and directives from the department of transport and the regulating body, the SA Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA), as they are published in the coming days,” she said.

Only OR Tambo International, Cape Town International and King Shaka International airports will be open to foreign travellers and overland travellers will have to make use of the border posts that remained open under lockdown.

“The airports will continue to adhere to the measures and protocols that have been in place for domestic travel over the past few months.

“We expect the number of international passengers to grow gradually, as this is an important step on the road to recovery. We greatly look forward to again welcoming international visitors to our airports and SA,” said Mpofu.

Mpofu urged travellers to be absolutely certain of their eligibility to fly and that they are in possession of valid visas to enter or re-enter SA before booking flights. In particular, travellers are asked to download the Covid Alert South Africa mobile app and must comply with the following requirements:

  • On arrival, travellers will need to present a negative Covid-19 test result not older than 72 hours from the time of their departure;
  • All travellers will be screened on arrival and those presenting with symptoms will be required to have Covid-19 tests;
  • Where necessary, travellers will need to enter mandatory quarantine facilities at their own cost.

“People wishing to travel across borders should monitor our website for airports and airlines operating during level 1 and the airline websites for availability of flights,” said Mpofu.

With alert level 1 under way, South Africa has endured trials and tribulations since the beginning of the national lockdown. TimesLIVE sat down with vaccinology and infectious disease expert Prof Shabir Madhi from Wits University, who shed some light on what could be next for the country, and a few lessons learnt along the way. He gives an update on the vaccine trial and considers the possibilities of a second wave of infection, warning that the country is not yet out of the woods.