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Govt puzzled by UK’s decision to keep SA on Covid ’red list’

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South Africans visiting the UK, even if vaccinated, will need to stay in a government-appointed hotel where they must quarantine for 10 days at their own cost.

Minister Naledi Pandor. Picture: Dumisani Sibeko

THE SOUTH African government says it’s puzzled by the UK’s decision to keep the country on its list of those facing strict restrictions and high costs when entering the UK.

In a statement on Sunday, International Relations and Cooperation Minister Naledi Pandor said: “We firmly believe there is no reasonable basis for keeping South Africa on the red list and I am very disappointed.”

This means that South Africans visiting the UK, even if vaccinated, will need to stay in a government-appointed hotel where they must quarantine for 10 days at their own cost.

But Pandor said her department, working with other stakeholders, will intensify efforts to have South Africa removed from the list and “is optimistic that the UK government will finally realise that their decision is not harming just the tourism industry but other businesses from both countries”.

“Thousands of families and business people in SA and the UK are shocked at this continued exclusion, especially given SA’s progress in combating the Covid-19 pandemic as evidenced by the rapid decline in infection rates due to the robust vaccination programme and excellent science.” said the department.

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases confirmed on Saturday that the current surge in infections seemed to be showing signs of a sustained downward trend.

“Today, the institute reports 3,286 new Covid-19 cases that have been identified in South Africa, which brings the total number of laboratory-confirmed cases to 2,880,349. This increase represents a 8.0% positivity rate.

“As per the National Department of Health, a further 164 Covid-19 related deaths have been reported, bringing total fatalities to 86,116 to date.”

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