Nine months after the UK put the toughest travel restrictions on arrivals from South Africa, it seems almost certain that the country will be removed from the “Red List” on or around October 7th.
Currently, South Africa is one of 54 nations from which UK arrivals have to go into hotel quarantine, which costs £ 2,285 for solo travelers.
On Monday evening, the British High Commission in Pretoria tweeted a joint statement by British diplomats and the South African government saying that the latest results “will feed into the next review of British border measures” – due in eight to ten days.
In South Africa, anger is growing over the UK’s continued insistence on hotel quarantine, which effectively acts as a travel ban – keeping families separate and suppressing tourism to one of the most popular long-haul destinations for British travelers.
The restrictions were originally imposed after the beta variant of the coronavirus was first identified in South Africa in December 2020.
Since then, the Delta variant has supplanted other tribes in South Africa like other tribes worldwide; there appear to be no other worrying variants; and officially registered Covid case numbers have dropped to around 5 percent of the UK level.
Following the latest round of “traffic light” changes, David Frost, CEO of Satsa, which represents the incoming tourism industry in southern Africa, said, “There is not the slightest amount of scientific evidence that South Africa remains on the red list.
“The only conclusion left is that the UK government has an irrational fear of South Africa that is affecting decision-making.
“This is a kick in the teeth for 1.5 million South African tourism workers who have relied on British visitors.” [southern] Feather.”
In response to mounting national anger, the Head of Communications for the High Commissioner and the Director of Media Relations for the South African Ministry of Health made an unprecedented statement.
It begins: “Scientific experts from the British and South American governments met on Monday, April 27th.
“The UK and South Africa are both leading scientific nations and the meeting was initiated by the UK High Commission and the South African government to ensure the most up-to-date and accurate exchange of information.”
The careful wording seems to enable UK ministers to declare, on the basis of newly acquired data, that they can remove South Africa from the Red List.
In addition, the UK’s refusal to recognize vaccinations administered in South Africa – as well as those from over 140 other countries – was on the agenda.
Currently, only vaccinations in Europe, North America and some other nations are recognized by the UK to avoid self-isolation on arrival.