Czech Republic joins UK in banning travel from SA

Reading Time: 2 minutes

The Czech Republic has also followed the United Kingdom’s example to ban travel from South Africa and other African countries to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus variant.

Foreign Minister Jakub Kulhanek says the ban will take effect on Saturday, and will apply to citizens who spent more than 12 hours in South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Mozambique and Zambia in the past two weeks.

The Dutch government will on Friday temporarily halt air traffic from Southern Africa. The European Union also plans to halt air travel from Southern Africa.

The Department of International Relations spokesperson Clayson Monyela says the UK’s decision was too hasty.

“The UK’s decision to temporarily ban South Africans from entering the UK seems to have been rushed as even the World Health Organisation is yet to advise on the next steps.

Minister Naledi Pandor said: ‘Our immediate concern is the damage that this decision will cause to both the tourism industries and businesses of both countries. South Africa will engage the UK government with the view to persuade them to reconsider this decision.’ ”

Dirco’s response to the UK’s decision to ban air travel from SA:

The National Institute of Communicable Diseases on Thursday confirmed a new COVID-19 variant B.1.1.529. This is amid the growing number of cases in Gauteng.

22 positive cases of variant B.1.1.529 have been recorded in the country following genomic sequencing collaborations between the NICD and private laboratories.

Health Minister Joe Phaahla, who briefed the media on Thursday, said the government still needs to meet and decide if there would be any need to restrict movement in the wake of the new COVID-19 variant.

“We are still going to have further discussions at various forums including the Coronavirus Council, the cabinet, consultation with Premiers, so it is too early to predict what is going to be the line of action. From the experience of the last 21 months or so, we can almost predict how this is going to move especially as Delta started in Gauteng, you can rest assured as people start to move even more in the next two weeks this will be all over,” he said.

Department of Health briefs the media following confirmation of new coronavirus variant in South Africa: