The COVID-19 pandemic has changed how we all live our daily lives, whether permanent or not. One of the hardest-impacted sectors has been travel – during the strict lockdown, no one was permitted to leave their home unnecessarily, much less travel.
Now, travel has opened up both locally and internationally, and airports have undergone a number of regulation changes to ensure passengers and air staff are safe from the spread of COVID-19.
In November, the national government made the decision to scrap the red list that stopped tourists from specific countries from visiting South Africa. The regulations governing international travel were also recently amended to make travel into and across the country more accessible during a pandemic.
The regulations have been amended as follows:
Travel for those with medical conditions:
Passengers who are unable to wear face masks on flights as a result of medical conditions are exempt from doing so. However, this must be evidenced by providing a medical certificate issued by a health care professional before the departure of a flight.
Travel for children under the age of five:
Previous regulations stipulated that children under the age of two years old were exempt from wearing masks on flights. They were also not required to provide a negative COVID-19 test before boarding a flight. Children under the age of five years old will now not be required to wear masks on flights, and they will also not be required to produce a negative COVID-19 test.
Travel for those with disabilities:
A child or adult with disabilities is exempt from COVID-19 testing if the said testing process proves to be too challenging. However, the airline or flight carrier will have to consult with South African authorities for clearance.
General admission to South African airports:
General access to airport terminals is now allowed under revised travel restrictions. Businesses such as restaurants and shops are now also allowed to operate.
Individuals, however, who are not departing are now also allowed to enter airport terminals, and pick-up and drop-off areas are now also open.