South Africa travel restrictions: Can I travel to South Africa? What are the rules?

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After almost six months of lockdown and closed borders, South Africa is reopening for tourism on October 1. The country’s coronavirus infection rate reached its peak in mid-July, but has since seen a downward trend in cases, leading president Cyril Ramaphosa to ease restrictions. Can I travel to South Africa? What are the rules?

South Africa has been one of the worst-hit countries in the world, reporting 653,444 cases and 15,705 deaths in total.

On July 24 the country announced a daily increase of 13,944 cases, but hasn’t seen an increase so high since.

The country’s infection rate is rising and has gone up and down since September began.

For example, 1,923 cases were reported on September 16 but 772 the day before.

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Case numbers are starting to level out, and life in South Africa is beginning to become a little more normal.

The country has decided to ease its coronavirus measures and reopen its borders to tourists.

President Ramaphosa announced to the country: “We will gradually and cautiously ease restrictions on international travel, allowing travel into and out of South Africa for business, leisure and other travel with effect from the 1st of October 2020.

“Travel may be restricted to and from certain countries that have high infection rates.”

So are Brits allowed into South Africa?

Can I travel to South Africa?

South African officials haven’t stated which countries will be allowed into the country yet.

However, President Ramaphosa has made it clear tourists from low-risk countries will be let in.

Equally, South Africa is not on the UK’s travel corridor list.

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCO) is still advising Brits against all but essential international travel, except a list of countries– of which, South Africa is not one.

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The news on whether Brits are allowed into South Africa should come in the next two weeks.

The likelihood of this happening is fairly low since the UK’s infection rate over seven days is 30.6 per 100,000 compared to South Africa’s 18.7 per 100,000.

However, the UK’s rate is much lower than some other countries.

For example, the USA has an inception rate of 84.1 per 100,000 and Spain’s is 126.9 per 100,000.

The UK Government updates its FCO travel corridor list every Thursday, so keep an eye out for any changes regarding South Africa.

If this advice does not change but South Africa decides to let UK visitors in, you’ll need to quarantine for 14 days on return home.

There isn’t free reign to do what you like in South Africa either, and there are strict rules you must follow if you are allowed in.

On arrival, you’ll need to present a negative PCR test that was taken no longer than 72 hours before you left.

You will also go through a health screening when you arrive in South Africa, and those with symptoms may be subject to extra testing and quarantine.

If you don’t provide the test, you will be forced to self-isolate for 14 days.

When in South Africa, you will have to wear a face mask in all public spaces.

Public spaces will seem less busy, with the government cutting down gatherings by 50 percent.

You won’t be allowed to party all night either, with a strict curfew still in place between midnight and 4am.

If you like to drink, you’ll have to stock up during the week because alcohol sales in South Africa are limited to 9am till 5pm Monday to Friday.

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