South Africa’s updated list of high-risk countries comes at a cost

The Western Cape government says that it is ‘deeply disappointed’ at the Department of Home Affairs’ revised list of high-risk countries which will be prohibited from travelling to South Africa for leisure purposes.

While the list of countries has been cut from 60 to 22, the Western Cape’s provincial minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities David Maynier said that the countries which remain on the list are key tourism markets.

Maynier said that the ‘red list’, which now includes Germany, effectively kills the key source markets for tourism in the Western Cape.

“International markets are a key economic driver for the tourism sector in the Western Cape, and so the full re-opening of our borders to leisure travellers – with stringent health protocols in place – ahead of the summer season is absolutely critical to the sector’s immediate recovery, medium-term stability and long-term survival,” he said.

However, Maynier welcomed improved traveller application turnaround times and the concession to allow regular visitors who are coming to stay for a three-month period or more, subject to Covid-19 protocols.

“At the end of the day, the additional concession underlines the point that we have maintained from the start – that the ‘red list’ needs to be scrapped and all visitors should be allowed entry into South Africa subject to presenting a negative PCR test conducted at least 72 hours prior to departure, together with screening protocols,” he said.

“There is simply no greater risk for transmission of the Covid-19 virus based on the purpose of travel, yet the negative impact of continuing to limit the entry of leisure travellers to South Africa, especially from our key source markets, is severe and extreme.”

Concession

The Department of Home Affairs has made a concession for high-risk travellers who plan to enter into the country for longer periods of time.

“We recognise that there are a number of regular visitors from mainly European countries that have been accustomed to long periods of visitation to our country during our summer season when it is winter in the Northern Hemisphere. Most of them own properties in the country,” the department said.

“We appreciate the significant economic contribution that they make through their activities in the country. To this end, we will also allow visitors, in whichever category, who are coming to stay for a three months period or more subject to Covid-19 protocols.”

The department said that travellers who need to apply must direct email requests to this email address supported by:

  • A copy of passport and/or temporary residence visa;
  • Proof of business activities to be undertaken in the Republic;
  • Proof of travel itinerary; and
  • Proof of address or accommodation in the Republic.

Read: Here’s the updated list of high-risk countries that can’t travel to South Africa

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South Africa’s updated list of high-risk countries comes at a cost