South Africa is to reopen its borders from 1 October, with new guidelines introduced for arriving tourists.
President Cyril Ramaphosa said in a statement Wednesday that some countries may be “red-listed” and not yet allowed to enter, and that the country is to take the approach of requesting arrivals show a negative test for Covid-19.
They will also be urged to install a government contact-notification app while in the country.
South Africa is not currently a country the UK government has accepted for a travel corridor, but the news will come as a relief to those working in the country’s tourism industry and travellers planning future trips.
“The tourism sector is one of our greatest economic drivers,” the president said. “We are ready to open our doors again to the world and invite travellers to enjoy our mountains, our beaches, our vibrant cities, and our wildlife game parks in safety and confidence.”
International arrivals will be able to fly into Johannesburg’s OR Tambo, Cape Town International, and King Shaka (for Durban) airports; Virgin Atlantic today announced its plans to resume flights to the country from 18 October.
Meanwhile, overland travellers will be restricted to one of the few border posts that remained open during lockdown.
Travellers need to present proof of a negative coronavirus test less than 72 hours old, or risk staying in mandatory quarantine at their own cost.
All travellers will also be screened on arrival and those presenting with symptoms will be required to remain in quarantine until a repeat test is conducted.
In his address to the people of South Africa, the president said, “We are now ready for a new phase in our response to the pandemic. Now is the time to return our country, its people and our economy to a situation that is more normal, that more resembles the lives that we were living six months ago. It is time to move to what will become our new normal for as long as the coronavirus is with us.”
He said the country would now be downgraded to “alert level 1” from midnight on Sunday 20 September; a curfew will still be in place, but only between midnight and 4am.
More than 15,000 South Africans have lost their lives to the disease and more than 650,000 have been confirmed as infected.