Monday, 6th December 2021
<To guardian.ng
Search
Breaking News:

South Africa under COVID-19 Adjusted Alert Level 1

Adjusted Alert Level 1 is in place in South Africa from October 1, 2021. Under adjusted alert level 1, travel to South Africa is possible with some restrictions. Visitors from Nigeria, and the rest of the world, can enter South Africa without having to quarantine, provided they meet all the health measures.  International flights can…

Commuters queue at the Bree taxi rank in Johannesburg on June 1, 2020.  (Photo by Emmanuel Croset / AFP)

Adjusted Alert Level 1 is in place in South Africa from October 1, 2021. Under adjusted alert level 1, travel to South Africa is possible with some restrictions. Visitors from Nigeria, and the rest of the world, can enter South Africa without having to quarantine, provided they meet all the health measures. 

International flights can now land at one of 5 permitted international airports:

  • OR Tambo International Airport
  • King Shaka International Airport
  • Cape Town International Airport
  • Lanseria International Airport
  • Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport

Currently, travelers need a Covid test to travel to South Africa. International visitors must present a certificate showing a negative COVID-19 test that was carried out no more than 72 hours before the departure date.

If a traveler does not submit a negative test certificate, they will be required to pay for and take an antigen test on arrival. This is not advisable, as passengers who test positive will have to isolate at their own expense in South Africa for 10 days.

Travelers who have recently recovered from COVID-19 can travel with the original COVID-19 PCR test and a letter from a medical practitioner stating they are fit to fly and have completed a 10-day isolation period.

Even if passengers have a certificate of vaccination, they must have an acceptable test or recovery document. Full vaccination does not exempt people from entry requirements. 

These measures are similar to those taken by other southern African nations. Botswana, Mozambique, and Zambia also require that passengers take a PCR test in the 72 hours before departure. Foreign travel is now possible across much of the continent, largely thanks to a drop in COVID-19 infection rates in Africa

Visitors do not need to go into quarantine unless they test positive on arrival or present symptoms.

Regarding onboard catering, international flight operators can offer pre-packed meals to passengers provided they take the relevant health and safety measures. Eating is not currently permitted on domestic flights.

International visitors to South Africa all need to fill out a Traveler Health Questionnaire before or on arrival. Health screening is in place on arrival and passengers presenting symptoms will have to have a COVID-19 test. They should also download South Africa’s mobile health app.

Twenty South Africa land borders are now open and thirty-three remain closed. These are the land borders open to travelers:

  • Botswana: Kopfontein, Grobler’s Bridge, Skilpadshek, and Ramatlabama
  • Eswatini: Oshoek, Goela, Jeppes Reef, Mananga, and Mahamba
  • Lesotho: Maseru Bridge, Ficksburg Bridge, Van Rooyen’s Gate, Qacha’s Nek, Caledonspoort, and Sanipass
  • Mozambique: Lebombo and Kosi Bay
  • Namibia: Nakop and Vioolsdrift
  • Zimbabwe: Beitbridge 

People reaching South Africa by one of these entry points also need to take a COVID-19 test before departure. 

After arriving in South Africa, visitors need to follow the safety protocol in place across the country. Everyone aged 6 and over must wear a face mask covering the nose and mouth when in a public space. To minimize the risk of infection, people are also encouraged to wash their hands frequently with soap and water or use hand sanitizer. 

A nightly curfew remains in place in South Africa. However, following the easing of COVID-19 rules, curfew hours have been reduced and now only apply from midnight to 4 am. People must stay at home between these hours unless they have been granted special permission to leave, or in an emergency. Travelers who need to travel to or from the airport during curfew hours must carry a valid boarding pass for airline ticket. 

To ensure people make it home in time for the curfew, the following places must close by 23 hr, regardless of whether they are indoor or outdoor venues: cinemas, theaters, casinos, museums, galleries, public swimming pools, beaches and parks, gyms, restaurants and bars, sports venues etc.

Accommodation including hotels, guest houses, and bed and breakfasts can operate at full capacity. A social distance of 1.5 meters must be kept in communal areas.

The latest guidance on gatherings states that a social distance of 1.5 meters should be maintained. Larger gatherings are permitted, there is a limit of 750 people for indoor venues and 2,000 people for outdoor venues. If the venue is too small to accommodate these numbers with adequate social distancing, 50% capacity is permitted.

Travelers in South Africa who need to take a COVID-19 test before departure to meet the requirements of their home country will find many testing sites around the country. The cost of a test is around R850, and test results are usually available in 24 to 48 hours. 

Visitors returning to Nigeria from South Africa need proof of payment for a PCR test obtained online. 

Entry requirements and COVID-19 measures are reviewed and updated regularly. Anyone considering a trip to South Africa must check the latest official information before making travel arrangements.