uk travellers south africa

Is the ‘green light’ on for UK travellers to visit South Africa? – Here’s what we know

28 April 2021 - 12:54

In two weeks, UK travellers will know of the countries they are allowed to visit. Will South Africa be included? Here’s what we know.

Written by Andile Sicetsha

The United Kingdom (UK) has issued a notice on its international travel plans and more than likely, the world — including South Africa — may soon be open for Britons to rediscover.

UK proposes NHS app as ‘Covid-19 passport’

Already, the UK has vaccinated more than 47 million of its citizens, 61.7% of which are still awaiting their second dose. Total infections were tallied up to more than four million on Tuesday 27 April, with 2 685 daily cases recorded.

The flattening curve has prompted the UK government to start looking at ways of reopening travel to its citizens and a crucial aspect of this will be the National Health Service (NHS) general vaccine booking app.

According to Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, the NHS app is being proposed to governments around the world as the UK’s official Covid-19 passport.

Once approved, the app which will hold personal data on a traveller’s inoculation could be the ticket to visiting other countries. However, a number of stringent processes must be followed on a traveller’s return, depending on the country they departed from.

When will UK travellers be allowed to visit South Africa?

Which countries will UK travellers be allowed to visit? According to Shapps, this information will be made available in two weeks, once the government’s Joint Biosecurity Centre concludes its ‘traffic light’ system which would determine which countries are deemed “green”, “amber” or “red”.

While the definitions of each ‘traffic’ alert are being defined, the transport secretary did indicate that countries will be categorised based on:

  • vaccination rates;
  • infection levels;
  • concerns about Covid-19 variants; and
  • a country’s Covid-19 reporting accuracy.

Countries that fall under the ‘green’ light will allow UK travellers to return “without needing to quarantine.” It is assumed that the contrary is required for travellers coming from countries listed under the ‘amber’ alert.

South Africa, for the most part, remains ex-communicated from international travel due to the spread of the 501.V2 variant. On Wednesday, the country relaunched its hackered vaccine rollout programme where less than 300 000 healthcare workers have been inoculated with the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

With the UK expected to publish its traffic light system as early as Monday 17 May 2021, it remains to be seen if South Africa will make it into the ‘green’ or ‘amber’ alert.

Despite this welcomed reopening, UK travellers will still be have to produce a negative Covid-19 test upon departure and arrival.