Australia has joined the United Kingdom in lifting its travel ban on South Africa.
South Africa travel ban: Who can visit Australia?
For much of the pandemic, the Asia-Pacific country has upheld a strict no-entry policy for African travellers. However, this all changed when the UK government conceded its red list was a fruitless exercise in preventing the spread of new COVID-19 variants.
In a statement published on Wednesday, Australia’s chief medical officer Professor Paul Kelly revealed that “the border measures under the Biosecurity Act 2015 restricting travellers who have been in the eight Southern African countries from entering Australia has now ceased.”
“Given the global spread of Omicron, international border bans are no longer a proportionate or effective means to contain the spread of Omicron,” Prof. Kelly noted.
While this announcement was welcomed by South Africans, it’s important to not that general holidaymakers are still barred from entering Australia.
At this stage, Prof. Kelly explained, “only Australian citizens, permanent residents, immediate family members, parents and eligible visa holders are able to enter Australia.”
In this case, “visa holders” refers to work and study permits granted by the Australian consulate.
Vaccinated travellers from Japan and Republic of Korea, on the other hand, are allowed entry into Australia without the strict conditions set for South Africa.
Here’s what you need to enter Australia
Moreover, there are still no direct flights to and from South Africa. From what we understand, Qantas Airways may only reopen its South Africa route in January 2022.
No mandatory quarantine will be required for vaccinated travellers from South Africa who are either Australian nationals of valid visa holders.
“All arrivals to Australia require a negative COVID-19 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test (nose and throat) within three days of travel and by law must complete Australian traveller declaration forms declaring their vaccination status and confirming that they are aware of state and territory public health requirements,” the government noted.