InternationalUK to lift travel restrictions to SA - report
─── 10:04 Mon, 04 Oct 2021
The United Kingdom (UK) could ease travel restrictions to South Africa as soon as Thursday, according to a report by The Telegraph.
This possible move follows heavy lobbying by South African business organisations as well as the government, to urge the UK government to move the country from its controversial red list, which requires travellers to quarantine even if they test negative and are vaccinated.
Such a shift would mean travellers would no longer have to stay 10 days in a so-called quarantine hotel at their own expense of £2,285 (R44,800).
The lobbying to be moved from red list went to the highest level with SA President Cyril Ramaphosa and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson discussing the issue last week.
Having SA on the red list has hurt the local tourism season, with Tourism Business Council of SA saying the tourism industry loses around R26 million every day that the country remains on the list, Fin24 previously reported.
If SA were to be moved to the amber list, it would only require travellers:
- To take a Covid-19 test three days before travelling to the UK, even if vaccinated,
- Book and pay for one on arrival in the UK,
- Complete a passenger location form,
- Quarantine at home or in the place they are staying for 10 days if not fully vaccinated
Fully vaccinated people would not have to quarantine.
News that SA could be moved to the amber list is welcome, especially when the country was widely expected to move from the red list when the UK revised which countries would remain on it on September 17, 2021.
To the shock of most, SA was not shifted, despite implementing a vaccine drive which has since resulted in about 15% of the total population being fully vaccinated and Covid-19 cases dropping from 20 000 a day at the peak of the third wave to about 1 800 per day.
In his address to the nation on the Covid-19 crisis last week, Ramaphosa said he and Johnson agreed that changes to travel restrictions should be made on a “scientific basis”.
The Telegraph reported SA would not be alone in being moved from the red list, which could be cut from 54 to as low as nine, with Brazil and Mexico also expected to able to travel quarantine-free.