South Africa’s president, Cyril Ramaphosa, has announced the end to the travel ban on tourists from high-risk countries such as the UK. But his country remains on the British “no-go” list.
Since South Africa opened up to some international tourism on 1 October, short-stay visitors from the UK have been banned.
But during a 36-minute address to the nation, the president announced the “opening up international travel to all countries subject to the necessary health protocols” – which includes the need for each arriving holidaymaker to present a paper copy of a negative Covid-19 test certificate taken in the 72 hours before departure.
Mr Ramaphosa said: “By utilising rapid tests and strict monitoring, we intend to limit the spread of the infection through importation by those who will be travelling to our country,” he said.
“We expect that those measures will greatly assist businesses, particularly in the tourism and hospitality sectors.
“The only way forward is a rapid and sustained economic recovery.”
No date has been set for the relaxation of current rules.
According to the latest figures from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), over the past two weeks the rate of new infections per 100,000 inhabitants in South Africa is 38.
The corresponding figure for the UK is 474, over 12 times higher.
However, South Africa is on the UK’s no-go list, along with the rest of the African continent, because of what the Foreign Office says is an “unacceptably high risk” to British travellers
It warns: “The FCDO advises against all but essential travel to the whole of South Africa based on the current assessment of Covid-19 risks.”
Travelling somewhere on the Foreign Office no-go list means standard travel insurance is invalid
In addition, anyone who returns from South Africa – or anywhere else on the continent – must self-isolate for two weeks.
Last month the England cricketer Kevin Pietersen, who was born in South Africa, said: “With low Covid infections, it seems discriminatory to not have any corridors to Africa from the UK.
“Health measures are extremely good in countries such as Kenya, Rwanda and South Africa.”
At present the second lockdown rules prohibit foreign holidays for people living in England until 3 December at the earliest.
But the president’s announcement opens the possibility of Christmas and New Year holidays in South Africa, subject to quarantine on return to the UK.