The UK government has excluded South Africa from a list of countries that pose a low enough risk of coronavirus infections that visitors don’t have to go into quarantine when they enter that country.
This means people arriving in England from South Africa will still have to quarantine for 14 days after landing.
South Africa and the UK have similar-sized populations. The UK has recorded almost 284,000 coronavirus infections, while South Africa has 168,000. But the UK has suffered almost 44,000 deaths from Covid-19, compared to 2,800 in South Africa.
The UK is starting to ease its lockdown, and has announced that as of Friday, 10 July, people arriving from a long list of countries will no longer have to go into quarantine. This also means the English visitors to these countries don’t have to go into quarantine when they arrive back. (Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland have their own rules.)
A much more stringent lockdown is in place in South Africa: borders are closed and South Africans are still not allowed to travel overseas for leisure. International travel is only allowed if the resident is returning to work, to study, or to go to their residence overseas.
While South Africa closed its borders at the end of March, the UK allowed international travel throughout – and only instituted a quarantine on arrivals in June.
The US – with 130,000 deaths and 2.7 million confirmed cases – has also not been included in the new list.
This is the UK’s full list of “quarantine-free” countries:
Austria, Andorra, Belgium, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Channel Islands, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey
Antigua & Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, Canada, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, Martinique, South Georgia & the South Sandwich Islands, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia,St Pierre and Miquelon, St Vincent and The Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos Islands
Australia, Brunei, French Polynesia, Hong Kong, Japan, Macao, Malaysia, New Zealand, Taiwan, Thailand, Singapore, South Korea, Vietnam, Wallis and Futuna
British Antarctic Territory