SA will not impose COVID-19 travel restrictions: Phaahla

COVID-19 testing
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Health Minister Joe Phaahla says that the World Health Organisation has advised South Africa that it is not necessary to impose travel bans on countries affected by the current upsurge of an Omicron subvariant of the coronavirus.

EU countries, the US and several other Asian countries have imposed travel restrictions on China, due to the increase in cases in that nation after it dropped its zero COVID policy.

Dr Phaahla says surveillance measures will be increased in South Africa but travel restrictions will not be imposed at this stage. Phaahla says Omicron remains the variant of concern.

He also says although there’s no need to panic following the discovery of the new COVID-19 sub-variant, precautionary measures must be considered.

Phaahla briefed the media on the COVID-19 situation in South Africa, emphasising that vaccination and boosters as the measures to be considered.

The ministry was responding to a number of topical issues, including a new variant (XBB.1.5) which has created public concern in the past few days.

According to Phaahla, South Africa will not consider imposing any strict measures on international travellers at this stage.

The COVID-19 pandemic gripped the world in March 2020, with related deaths to the pandemic standing at over 100 000 lives in South Africa and over 6.7 million worldwide.

Health Ministry provides update on COVID-19 situation in South Africa