International travel: Requirements for passengers entering SA

International travel resumed under Level 1 lockdown on Thursday 1 October. South Africa’s Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula, on Friday 2 October, provided more details regarding aviation regulations and what passengers entering South Africa can expect when preparing to board a flight.

Mbalula said this comes after the department was inundated with inquiries related to international travel. Starting off, he said international scheduled and Charter flights carrying passengers are allowed through three airports namely; OR Tambo International Airport, King Shaka International Airport and Cape Town International Airport.

Compliance requirements relating to passengers include;

-Passengers are required to wear face mask at all times and may only remove it during emergencies or when instructed by cabin crew to take them off and must observe social distancing, hand washing, sanitise regularly;
-A passenger who is unable to wear a face mask due to an underlying medical condition must submit a medical certificate from a registered medical practitioner to the operator prior to departure; and
-A child under the age of two years may be exempted from wearing a face mask. This is because masks can restrict breathing for small children as their airways are smaller than older children and adults.

-A passenger must provide to the operator a negative PCR test certificate or a valid COVID-19 negative test certificate obtained not more than 72 hours before the date of travel from an accredited laboratory and in line with the World Health Organisation (WHO) requirements;
-An “immunity passport”, “risk-free” certificate or “passport immunity” in respect of COVID-19 is not acceptable;
-If a passenger is symptomatic, the necessary protocols of the Department of Health will be followed;
-In the event of the passenger’s failure to submit a certificate as proof of a negative PCR test certificate or a valid COVID-19 negative test certificate upon arrival in South Africa, the passenger shall be subjected to a compulsory quarantine at a government-designated facility as contemplated for in Health Directions, at his or her own cost;
-International travel from countries listed as having high COVID-19 infections and transmission rate, is prohibited, except for business travel, which may be allowed with the approval of the Cabinet member responsible for Home Affairs, in which case such passengers must comply with the stipulated requirements;
-A passenger in transit must be in possession of a negative PCR test certificate or a valid COVID-19 negative test certificate, obtained not more than 71 hours before the date of travel, from an accredited laboratory;
-A passenger in transit who displays symptoms of COVID-19 must, upon arrival and under the direction of Ports Health; be taken through primary and secondary screening, including COVID-19 testing where applicable and be quarantined at their own cost if a positive test result is obtained

Subject to the travel requirements of a country of destination, a passenger must provide to the operator or airline with a negative PCR test certificate or a valid COVID-19 negative test certificate from an accredited laboratory and an operator is responsible to ensure that passengers comply with COVID-19 requirements of the country of destination.

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