CAPE TOWN: South Africa is preparing to reopen its borders to international travellers for the first time since March.
In an address to the nation earlier, president Cyril Ramaphosa confirmed the process would begin on October 1st.
The move comes as the country enters national lockdown alert ‘level one’ from Sunday, following a significant decrease in infections.
South Africa is currently recording an average of fewer than 2,000 Covid-19 cases per day.
Ramaphosa, however, said travel may be restricted to and from certain countries that are deemed high risk, with a list of these countries set to be announced in the coming days.
All international travellers will be required to present a Covid-19 free certificate dated no later than 72 hours within their date of arrival or quarantine on arrival.
Three international airports will open – OR Tambo International Airport, Cape Town International Airport and King Shaka International Airport – as well as one port.
Kgomotso Ramothea, acting hub head UK & Ireland, South African Tourism, said: “This is an extremely positive step in the right direction for tourism in South Africa.
“While there is more detail to come in the next few days, this progress sends a really positive message to the world, that South Africa is on the road to tourism recovery.
“The UK is our number one international travel market – many of these are repeat visitors, who have an emotional connection to South Africa and we look forward to welcoming them back to experience our beautiful country once again, as well as first time travellers who have always had South Africa on their bucket list and who we hope will seize the opportunity to visit after a difficult year.”
With the announcement, Virgin Atlantic confirmed plans to resume flights to the country from October 18th.
The South African reopening is part of a growing trend, with data from the UNWTO this week showing more than half of countries have now loosened restrictions on travel imposed at the height of the outbreak.