A number of South Africans who are studying in the United Kingdom will have to spend Christmas on campus following the announcement of immediate restrictions on travel to and from South Africa.

This is after British Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced South Africa travel restrictions after two cases of the new coronavirus variant have been discovered in the UK.

Both are contacts of cases who had travelled from South Africa. Laura-Jane Watkins is a South African national who is studying at the University of Birmingham.

She says most students who wanted to spend Christmas in South Africa are now stuck on campus in the UK.

“Due to the fact that they only announced the tier 4 on Sunday and gave students about 2 days’ notice, I don’t think students were able to get back to university and now found themselves stuck. For many students the sad reality is they’ve not been able to go home, I know of some students that are stuck on campus in residences and have had to rely on the campus to provide them with a Christmas meal.”

Discovery of new COVID-19 variant in the UK gets SA mulling over international travel

Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi says the Health Ministry will make a determination regarding travel from South Africa after the UK announced restrictions.

South Africa, last week, reported a new variant of the coronavirus that is more transmissible.

Motsoaledi says it is up to individual countries to act to protect their citizens.

“The regulations that have been passed was that the borders, the airports and the seaports are open for everybody as long as they produce a COVID-19 certificate. We have not been told any other thing by the ministry. Perhaps they will inform us. The decision they have taken is their own. We will have to see what our own decision is in terms of the UK.”

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