South Africa opens its borders to international travel today

South Africa opens its borders to international travel today

- The South African government has taken the decision to open its borders to international travel

- The country will however continue its ban on high-risk countries

- This comes after a fall in both coronavirus cases and deaths in SA

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After nearly six months of lockdown, South Africa seems to be slowly but surely going back to somewhat normal. This is after the government came to the decision to open its borders to international travel.

Speaking at a media briefing yesterday, Naledi Pandor, the Minister for International Relations and Cooperation, said that there will be a cautious and gradual opening of international borders effective from 1 October. The decision comes after careful consideration as well as guidelines from the World Health Organization.

“The gradual reopening of borders and ports of entry informed by a cautious approach means that a limited number of ports of entry and borders will be opened from 1 October 2020,” she said.

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Those who show any symptoms of the virus will be tested and then placed into quarantine immediately. They will also have to pay for the test out of their own pockets. She also mentioned that there are measures put into place to classify each traveller based on the country they are coming from.

While people will now be allowed in from other countries, there will be an exception to countries that pose a higher risk. These high-risk countries can be categorised by the number of deaths as well as the number of active cases.

“South Africa has developed a risk categorisation model for different international travellers. This model classifies international travellers according to a scale of high, medium and low-risk,” said Pandor.

Should they be higher than that of South Africa, it will be classified as high risk. Meanwhile, the medium-risk would mean death and active cases that are equal to South Africa and low risk will be countries that have lower death and active case figures than SA.

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Pandor also said that while high-risk countries will be barred, there will be an exception for certain kinds of travellers:

"Only business travellers with scarce and critical skills, diplomats, investors and professional sportspeople coming for events from the high-risk countries will be permitted into the country," she said.
South Africa opens its borders to international travel today
Naledi Pandor addressed latest travel updates yesterday. Source: Twitter/NalediPandor
Source: Twitter also reported that the number of people who have lost their lives to the Covid-19 pandemic worldwide has now topped one million since the first case was reported in China in late 2019. As of Tuesday, September 29, according to a tally by Worldometer, the death toll had hit 1,006,471 with the US and Brazil being the hardest-hit.

The two countries had lost at least 209,808 and 142,161 people respectively. China, where the new disease was first reported in 2019, had lost 4,634 people with the country registering 85,384 cases, of which 80,566 had recovered from the infection.

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Other countries that recorded grim statistics by the morning of Tuesday are India (96,351), Mexico (76,603), Italy (35,851) and UK (42,001). In Africa, South Africa, with 671,669 confirmed cases, was the worst-hit country with its death toll racing past 16,580 followed by Morocco (2,113), Egypt (5,901), Ethiopia (1,177) and Nigeria at 1,111.

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