Level 1 – Your Questions Answered

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As we know that our clients need to be timeously informed of developments in the travel industry during the COVID-19 pandemic, we share the following information as per ASATA.

Disclaimer: This information is based on our understanding of the Department of Home Affairs Gazette, issued 30 September. ASATA is seeking clarity on several points, including whether returning South African citizens would be required to present a negative COVID-19 test not older than 72 hours from the time of departure in general, or just from high-risk countries; the requirements for returning South African residents; travel insurance requirements and passengers in transit, among others.

A number of questions have emerged following yesterday’s announcement that South African travellers have been given the green light by the South African Government to travel anywhere in the world, under certain conditions.

ASATA has compiled an online FAQ to answer your most pressing questions around the Level 1 travel regulations, where possible. These questions will be updated continuously as and when more information becomes available. The FAQs can be accessed here: https://coronavirus.asata.co.za/level-1/

The government has also issued two different gazettes to detail the regulations around the reopening of borders.

The Department of Home Affairs has detailed the full list of 'high-risk' countries from which inbound leisure travellers are banned, as well as specifications around the application for business travel. The Department is also resuming services for applications in respect of identity cards or documents and all types of passports. You can download the gazette here.

In addition, the Department of Transport outlined the regulations around international passenger flights. The gazette, which can be downloaded here, stipulates that:

  • A passenger must provide a negative Polymerase Chain Reaction ("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 Organization requirements
  • If a passenger is symptomatic, the necessary protocols of the Department of Health will be followed;
  • In the event of the passenger's failure, for whatever reason, 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;

With regard to international outbound flights, the gazette says that:

  • subject to the travel requirements of a country of destination, a passenger must provide to the Operator a negative PCR test certificate or a valid COVID -19 negative test certificate from an accredited laboratory certified by the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority ( "SAHPRA "); and
  • an Operator is responsible to ensure that passengers comply with COVID -19 requirements of the country of destination.

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