After six months of closure to limit the spread of coronavirus, South Africa is beginning to reopen its borders. A decision that only concerns international flights in relation to countries considered to be low risk.
This is the first international flight to land at Johannesburg Airport in six months. This Thursday, October 1, a Lufthansa plane landed from Frankfurt at 8:30. This concludes the overall closure of the South African air borders that have been underway since March 27, with the exception of domestic flights. South Africa was the country in sub-Saharan Africa most affected by the coronavirus epidemic. Authorities have registered nearly 700,000 cases and more than 16,730 deaths. It was also the first country on the entire continent to introduce total containment from March.
The opening of the air borders this morning is subject to certain conditions. Access to the country is not open to nationals of 57 countries considered at risk. In this list we find, for example, the United States, Great Britain, Russia, France, the Netherlands or India. And for these countries, only diplomats, people on business trips and a few other cases are allowed. They must have a negative Covid test. Tourists are not allowed to travel, which is a disappointment for this industry. South Africa actually receives about 17 million tourists a year, which represents an important resource for the economy.
Limited trade with Zimbabwe
This reopening of air borders accompanies for certain national borders. The relations with Namibia were e.g. Resumed a few weeks ago. Others remain partially closed, as is the case with Zimbabwe. Only those traveling on business can cross the border. There is a lot of trade between the two countries. Harare imports many products from South Africa. It is therefore impossible to close the stock exchanges completely.
On the other hand, individuals cannot connect. This remains a major handicap for the tens of thousands of Zimbabweans working in South Africa. Normally, around 25,000 people cross the Beitbridge border post every day, the main crossing point between South Africa and Zimbabwe.