UK removes SA from red list

The UK has removed South Africa from its travel red list.

The United Kingdom (UK) has removed South Africa from its travel red list as Covid-19 cases continue to decline in the country.

According to Tourism Minister Lindiwe Sisulu, the decision is based on a reduction in Covid-19 cases, increase in the number of vaccinations as well as the South African government’s efforts to contain the spread of the virus.

The UK announced on Thursday that it had removed 47 countries from its red list and that from Monday 11 October, eligible travellers vaccinated in over 37 new countries and territories including Brazil, Ghana, Hong Kong, India, Pakistan, South Africa and Turkey, will be treated the same as returning fully vaccinated UK residents, so long as they have not visited a red list country or territory in the 10 days before arriving in England.

“Government extends inbound vaccinated arrivals system to a further 37 countries and territories across the globe including India, South Africa and Turkey, meaning eligible vaccinated passengers arriving from rest of world countries only need to take a day 2 test in England,” announced the UK.

“Government confirms passengers will be able to send a picture of their lateral flow test as a minimum requirement to verify test result accuracy and keep prices down once Day 2 tests switch to lateral flow later this month, followed by a free PCR if positive.”

Only seven countries remain on its red list.On Thursday, South Africa recorded 989 new cases of Covid-19, bringing the total number of cases to 2.909,757, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) announced.

This increase represents a 2.9% positivity rate.

A further 123 Covid-19 related deaths have been reported, bringing total fatalities to 88,104 to date.

Sisulu welcomed the UK’s decision to remove South Africa from its red list.

“We are delighted to see the UK restrictions on travel to South Africa have been lifted, following a successful vaccine rollout in South Africa, and continued decline in new Covid-19 cases. We look forward to welcoming  our British visitors in time for the South African summer season and  we will continue to work tirelessly with  all our national and international partners to ensure the success of South Africa’s tourism recovery,” she said in a statement.

“Tourism is one of South Africa’s key contributors to the country’s economy and government is committed to the tourism sector recovery post the Covid-19 pandemic. The United Kingdom plays a crucial role in the country’s recovery as an important and biggest source market for tourism arrivals into South Africa. In 2019 the destination welcomed 466, 841 British travellers, which was a 1.4% increase when compared to the previous year.”

South Africa’s removal from the UK ‘red list’ is a boost for economic recovery in Western Cape

Statement by Minister David Maynier:

“The fact that South Africa has been removed from the United Kingdom’s ‘red list’ is great news for the Western Cape.

“This decision brings an end a baffling diplomatic shambles that risked the economic recovery of the tourism and hospitality sector in the Western Cape.

“And we will now work hard to take advantage of the opportunity, and the pent-up demand to travel from the UK to South Africa by running our award-winning campaigns in-market to consumers, trade and media.

“Thanks to all those who worked on the campaign to remove South Africa from the ‘red list’. The success of this initiative is a great example of how the public and private sector can work together to achieve common outcomes.”

The Citizen/Vhahangwele Nemakonde