President Cyril Ramaphosa has confirmed that South Africa will be moving to Level 1 lockdown at midnight on Sunday, barely a month after Level 2 changes came into effect. This rapid-fire move through the gears will be a blessing for a battered economy, after COVID-19 cases continued to decline sharply on our shores.
Good news for those of you with itchy feet: Six months of closed borders will finally come to an end as South Africa officially moves forward into Level 1 of lockdown. However, as you’d perhaps expect, the rules for international travel do come with a few caveats.
INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL ALLOWED FOR SOUTH AFRICA AT LEVEL 1
President Ramaphosa gave a jovial address – littered with cautionary sentiments – as he confirmed Mzansi would shift into the lightest possible version of lockdown, some six months after the punishing Level 5 regulations were enforced. We’ve been through the most, and for those needing a change of scenery, you’re chance has arrived.
Just a month after inter-provincial travel got the green-light, international travel is now permitted. It’s an enormous boost for an ailing tourist industry, which is just weeks away from entering its peak season. Airlines, attractions, hotels, and resorts are likely to benefit enormously as foreigners will be welcomed back to SA for the first time since March.
INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL TO AND FROM SOUTH AFRICA: WHERE CAN WE GO, WHO CAN VISIT, AND HOW WILL IT WORK?
However, this is no free-for-all. And although the borders have opened, the floodgates certainly have not. Ramaphosa has explained the strict provisos for international travel, outlining the following details in his address:
- Restrictions will ease gradually. Business, leisure, and other travel will be permitted from 1 October.
- Travel is restricted to and from certain countries with high infection rates. The list of these nations will be published in due course.
- Visitors can only use one ‘land border post’, entering and departing South Africa from a single point only.
- You can only fly into King Shaka, OR Tambo, or Cape Town Airport if you are travelling from abroad.
- Travellers from overseas will need to bring a COVID-19 test proving they are negative. All passengers will be screened on arrival.
- Anyone planning on international travel must download SA’s Track and Trace app.
- It’s also worth noting that domestic passenger flights now allowed at 11 more airports in SA – which is effective immediately.
- More information is set to be published in the coming days.
WHEN WILL LEVEL 1 REGULATIONS COME INTO EFFECT?
South Africa will move into Level 1 of lockdown when the rules set out by Cyril Ramaphosa are officially published in the Government Gazette. Before then, the National Coronavirus Command Council will be asked to work out the ‘fine print’ of these regulations. Cabinet will set all the rules and regulations that come with these changes.
With most of the original lockdown restrictions now lifted, it’s important to remember that the requirements for social distancing and wearing masks in public are still being enforced. These actions have helped limit the spread of COVID-19 across the country, and the president has urged the public to avoid ‘lapsing’ on these interventions.