Germany has removed South Africa from its list of high-risk countries, giving travellers another route into the European Union’s (EU) Schengen region.
In a notice on Sunday (19 September), the German federal government announced that 14 countries have been removed from the list, no longer subject to strict entry requirements.
Some travel restrictions remain in place, however, with travellers aged 12 years or older needing hold proof of the following upon entering Germany:
A negative Covid-19 test result; or
Proof of a full Covid-19 vaccination; or
Proof of recovery from an infection.
This proof must be held prior to entering Germany and must be presented to the airline before departure where applicable.
Germany’s easing of restrictions comes just a day after the UK government announced that it will keep South Africa on its red list for travel – holding in place incredibly restrictive and expensive quarantine conditions for local travellers.
Under the UK’s travel rules, travellers who have been in a country or territory on the red list in the last 10 days will only be allowed to enter the UK if they are British or Irish nationals or have residence rights in the territory.
These travellers are subject to rigorous Covid testing and have to quarantine at a designated hotel at their own cost. A 10-day package costs £2,285 for a single adult (R46,000), and £1,430 (R29,000) for each person over 11. Children aged 5 to 11 will bump the total up by £325 each.
While analysts speculated that South Africa would be removed from the red list following petitions from local citizens, appeals from the South African government, and local branches of multinational corporations, this did not materialise.
The relationship between Britain and South Africa is an important economic corridor with Britain exporting R62 billion to South Africa in the year to end-March while it imported R90 billion, noted Busi Mavuso, the chief executive 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 the largest trading partner in Africa.
Before the pandemic, 440,000 UK travellers visited South Africa in 2019, making it the most important overseas market for tourists to South Africa, Mavuso further pointed out. They spend R10 billion during their visits. This activity is a key part of our tourism industry which directly employs 657,000 people, 87% of whom come from disadvantaged backgrounds.
“The UK’s decision therefore has significantly 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 familial ties to the UK,” said Mavuso.
The UK’s Department for Transport and Health and Social Care published an updated list this week, leaving South Africa stuck on the red list. Only eight countries were removed from the list, including Egypt and Kenya.
A mapping tool developed by travel website Skyscanner shows that as of 8 September, South Africa has 77 ‘major restrictions’ from other countries in place. This is up from around 60 major restrictions before the third Covid wave hit.
These countries have suspended travel, may be closed to entry, or entry may only be possible if you are a citizen/meet strict entrance requirements.
By comparison, there are currently 30 moderate restrictions for South Africa, where travel is possible, but only if travellers meet certain entry requirements, including taking Covid-19 tests.
Article written by: Businesstech
Photo credit: World Travel