Germany has removed South Africa from its list of high-risk countries, offering travelers an alternative route to the European Union (EU) Schengen area.
In a notice published on Sunday, September 19, the German federal government announced that 14 countries had been removed from the list, which are no longer subject to strict entry requirements.
However, some travel restrictions remain in place, with travelers aged 12 or older required to hold proof of the following upon entering Germany:
- A negative Covid-19 test result; Where
- Proof of a complete vaccination against Covid-19; Where
- Evidence of recovery from infection.
This proof must be held before entering Germany and must be presented to the airline before departure, if applicable.
Germany’s easing of restrictions comes just a day after the UK government announcement that it will keep South Africa on its red list for travel – keeping in place incredibly restrictive and costly quarantine conditions for local travelers.
Under UK travel rules, travelers who have stayed in a Red Listed country or territory in the last 10 days will only be allowed to enter the UK if they are of UK nationality or Irish or if they have a right of residence in the territory.
These travelers undergo rigorous Covid testing and must self-quarantine at a designated hotel at their own expense. A 10-day pass costs £ 2,285 for a single adult (R 46,000) and £ 1,430 (R 29,000) for each person over 11. Children aged 5-11 will increase the total by £ 325 each.
While analysts speculated that South Africa would be taken off the red list following petitions from local citizens, appeals from the South African government and local branches of multinational companies, it did not materialize.
Britain’s relationship with South Africa is an important economic corridor, with Britain exporting R 62 billion to South Africa in the year through the end of March, while it imported 90 billion, noted Busi Mavuso, managing director of Business Leadership South Africa (BLSA). The UK is South Africa’s second largest trading partner, behind the EU, she said in a newsletter on Monday. For the UK, South Africa is Africa’s largest trading partner.
Before the pandemic, 440,000 British travelers visited South Africa in 2019, making it the most important foreign market for tourists to South Africa, Mavuso further underlined. They spend R10 billion on their visits. This activity is a key component of our tourism industry which directly employs 657,000 people, 87% of whom come from disadvantaged backgrounds.
“The UK decision therefore has very negative effects on development in South Africa. The lack of a clear rationale for the UK’s decision risks creating resentment towards the country at a crucial time in its engagement with the rest of the world. This is particularly sensitive for South Africans who have close cultural and family ties with the UK, ”Mavuso said.
The UK Department for Transport and Health and Welfare released an updated list this week, leaving South Africa on the red list. Only eight countries were removed from the list, including Egypt and Kenya.
A mapping tool developed by the Skyscanner travel website shows that as of September 8, South Africa has 77 “major restrictions” from other countries. This represents an increase from around 60 major restrictions before the third wave of Covid.
These countries have suspended travel, may be closed to entry or entry is only possible if you are a citizen / meet strict entry requirements.
For comparison, there are currently 30 moderate restrictions for South Africa, where travel is possible, but only if travelers meet certain entry requirements, including passing Covid-19 tests.
The table below gives an overview of some of the main travel restrictions still in effect for South Africa as of Monday, September 20.
This is not travel advice and is for comparison purposes only. South Africans should always check with the respective health authorities before traveling.
|Country||Restrictions for people traveling from South Africa|
|Australia||Australia’s borders are currently closed and entry into Australia remains strictly controlled to help prevent the spread of Covid-19. Travel to Australia is only available if you are exempt or if you have been granted an individual exemption.|
|China||Chinese and foreign passengers traveling from or transiting through South Africa should apply for “green health codes” (for Chinese citizens only) by submitting their negative Covid-19 certificates for nucleic acid testing to embassies or consulates Chinese.|
|France||Fully vaccinated travelers are no longer subject to restrictions on travel to or from France, regardless of the country of departure. However, the French Embassy strongly advises against travel from France to countries on the “red” list, including South Africa.|
|Germany||Germany has removed South Africa from its list of high-risk countries, offering travelers an alternative route to the EU’s Schengen area. However, some travel restrictions remain in place and travelers aged 12 or older must hold proof of being vaccinated or tested upon entering Germany.|
|Spain||South Africa is classified as “high risk” by the Spanish authorities. While travel is permitted, travelers should expect mandatory testing and quarantine requirements.|
|New Zealand||Entry to New Zealand from all countries remains strictly controlled to help prevent the spread of Covid-19. South Africans should undergo controlled isolation if allowed to enter.|
|UK||South Africa is still on the red list to enter England. If you have stayed in a Red Listed country or territory in the last 10 days, you will only be allowed to enter the UK if you are a UK or Irish national or have residence rights in the UK -United.|
|we||Only those eligible except for NIE visa are allowed to enter the United States. The United States is also requiring all air passengers entering the country to present a negative Covid-19 test, performed within three calendar days of departure or evidence of recovery from the virus within the past 90 days. Airlines must confirm negative test result or proof of recovery for all passengers two years of age and older before boarding.|
Read: Relaxed lockdown restrictions under consideration for South Africa: Minister of Health