This evening there was an address to the public by South Africa’s President on the state of the coronavirus crisis in the country. He announced that the country was able to move to a lower alert level, level one which means that venues for exercise, recreation, and entertainment – such as gyms and theatres – which were limited to no more than 50 people, will now be allowed to accommodate up to 50% of their venue’s capacity as determined by available floor space, subject to social distancing and other health protocols. Sporting events will still have the same limitations as before.
The good news is that the sale of alcohol and curfews have also been eased:
- The curfew will now apply between midnight and 4am.
- The sale of alcohol at retail outlets for home consumption is now permitted from Monday to Friday, from 09h00 to 17h00.
- Alcohol will be permitted for on-site consumption in licensed establishments only and with strict adherence to the curfew.
He also announced that the country would reopen its borders,
“We will be allowing travel into and out of South Africa for business, leisure and other travel with effect from 1 October 2020.
This is subject to various containment and mitigation measures:
– Travel may be restricted to and from certain countries that have high infection rates. A list of countries will be published based on the latest scientific data.
– Travellers will only be able to use one of the land border posts that have remained operational during the lockdown or one of the three main airports: King Shaka, OR Tambo and Cape Town International Airport.
– On arrival, travellers will need to present a negative COVID-19 test result not older than 72 hours from time of departure.
– Where a traveller has not done a COVID-19 test prior to departure, they will be required to remain in mandatory quarantine at their own cost.
– All travellers will be screened on arrival and those presenting with symptoms will be required to remain in quarantine until a repeat COVID-19 test is conducted.
– All travellers will be asked to install the COVID Alert South Africa mobile app.
In preparation for the re-opening of our borders, South African missions abroad will open for visa applications and all long-term visas will be reinstated.
The tourism sector is one of our greatest economic drivers.
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.”
There are still two barriers to being able to visit. Firstly with rising cases in the UK, the irony may be that we are classified as high risk and therefore not allowed to enter. Secondly, South Africa is not currently on the UK travel corridor list or the FCO exemption list, meaning travel insurance would not be valid. Although you can get specialist insurance to cover you not that expensively.
Overall it’s good news, so let’s hope other countries follow and we don’t get banned from them!