The United Kingdom (UK) could ease travel restrictions to South Africa from as soon as this week Thursday 7 October.
Currently, South Africa is on the UK’s controversial “red list,” which are countries the UK requires travellers who have recently been in to quarantine for 10 days even if they provide a negative COVID-19 test and are vaccinated.
If SA is taken off the list and instead placed in the UK’s ‘amber list’, travellers from Africa’s most-developed country will no longer have to quarantine for 10 days upon arrival in the UK and have to spend $3,108.93 in a so-called quarantine hotel, according to Business Insider.
Last week, SA President Cyril Ramaphosa said during a national address that he had contacted UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson about the decision to keep South Africa on the list, with Ramaphosa saying that “[Both he and Johnson] agreed that decisions of this nature should be informed by science and are hopeful of a positive outcome when the issue comes up for review in the coming days.”
The UK’s inclusion of South Africa on the red list of travel destinations has effectively crippled tourism and trade with South Africa’s largest source market. The Tourism Business Council of SA estimates that the country’s tourism industry loses around $1.74-million every single day the country remains on the list, according to Media24.
Here are 4 things you will have to do before and after your flight from SA to the UK:
- Take a COVID-19 test three days before you board your flight to the UK, even if you are vaccinated.
- Book and pay for a COVID-19 test as soon as you arrive in the UK.
- Complete a passengers location form.
- If you aren’t fully vaccinated you will need to quarantine at home, or in the place you’re staying for 10 days.
It is no coincidence that Ramaphosa mentioned travel to the UK alongside an announcement that South Africa’s government would be ramping up vaccination efforts in the coming months heading towards the mid-December target of vaccinating 67% of the population.
Vaccinations have allowed many countries to loosen travel restrictions since the dawn of the pandemic. In Europe, inoculation certificates are being issued in over 27 EU member nations, allowing seamless travel between these countries.
South Africa is expected to launch its own vaccination certificates soon for both travel and to gain access to certain establishments where access is reserved for those inoculated against COVID-19.