South Africa on Sunday said it was unhappy that the UK has kept it on the Red List of countries considered high risk regarding Covid-19 infections.
Last week the United Kingdom (UK) said it was revising its traffic light system, but countries on the Red List – including South Africa – would remain there.
Commenting on the decision to keep South Africa on the Red List, International Relations and Cooperation Minister Naledi Pandor said: “We firmly believe there is no reasonable basis for keeping South Africa on the Red List and I am very disappointed.”
She said her government was puzzled at the UK’s decision to keep South Africa on the Red List of countries facing stringent restrictions and high costs to enter that country.
More than 10 million people in South Africa have been vaccinated and in recent weeks the numbers of new infections and deaths have slowed down significantly.
The South African minister said thousands of families and business people in South Africa and the UK were “shocked at this continued exclusion”.
She said this was especially so given South Africa’s progress in combating the Covid-19 pandemic as evidenced by the rapid declining infection rates due to robust vaccination programme and excellent science.
Pandor said her department working with other stakeholders will intensify efforts to have South Africa removed from the UK Red list.
The South African minister said she was optimistic that the UK government “will finally realise that their decision is not harming just the tourism industry but other businesses from both countries”.
The Red List of high Covid-19 risk destinations is set to be maintained by the UK Government on 4 October when the traffic light system is changed.
The Green and Amber Lists will be scrapped in favour of a more relaxed worldwide system.
The changes will see fully vaccinated travellers avoid pre-departure Covid-19 tests before entering England if returning from a non-Red List country.
Stringent travel measures will remain for those travelling from Red List countries wanting to enter the UK.
From 4am Monday, 4 October, travellers from Red List countries must follow these rules even if they are fully vaccinated, partially vaccinated or not vaccinated.
“If you have been in a country or territory on the Red List in the last 10 days, you will only be allowed to enter the UK if you are a British or Irish national or you have residence rights in the UK,” says the advice on the UK government website.