South Africa revises list of COVID-19 high risk countries

South African Airways Airbus A330 (A330-243) airplane as seen on 19 November 2019 at Munich International Airport MUC EDDM named Franz Josef Strauss, Flughafen Munchen, capital of Bavaria, Germany. The aircraft has the registration ZS-SXX with 2x RR jet engines. South African Airlines SA SAA SPRINGBOK is a state owned flag carrier airline of South Africa, Star Alliance member headquartered in Airways Park at O.R Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg JNB hub. (Photo by Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto)
South African Airways Airbus A330 (A330-243) airplane. (Photo by Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

South Africa on Monday revised the list of COVID-19 high-risk countries, whose tourists are banned from visiting the African country.

The new list has 22 high-risk countries, dropping from an initial 60 when the country reopened its borders to international travelers on October 1, according to the Department of Home Affairs (DHA).

The high-risk countries still include the United States, the United Kingdom, India and Brazil.

Germany, Canada, Italy, Spain, Indonesia, Bangladesh and the Philippines are the seven countries newly listed.

“The review of the list of high-risk countries was done in such a way that it strikes a balance between saving lives and protecting livelihoods,” the DHA said.

People from high-risk countries who may visit South Africa fall into the following categories: business travelers, holders of critical skills visas, investors and people on an international mission in sports, arts, culture and science, according to the DHA.

Nothing has changed as far as all travelers from the continent of Africa are concerned.

Travelers from the African continent are still welcome to visit South Africa subject to COVID-19 protocols, DHA spokesperson Siya Qoza said.

“In addition, we recognize 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,” said Qoza.

Most of the visitors from Europe own properties in South Africa, according to Qoza.

“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,” Qoza said.

Since the DHA launched the email address to handle applications for business travel following the reopening of borders, 4,701 applications were received, mostly from investors in agriculture, manufacturing, mining and tourism, according to Qoza.

Of these applications, 3,113 have been approved, he said.

These numbers show that on average, 335 investors a day applied to visit South Africa, sending a strong message that the country remains an attractive investment destination, said Qoza.

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