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Travel from India to SA possible through connecting flights in the midst of record high Covid cases

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Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said this week that South Africa’s ports of entry are “currently on high alert to screen passengers and test those who require further assessment”

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WHILE the debate rages on whether the South African government should impose a ban on travellers from India, there are still available connecting flights for those who need to travel.

This is according to Jennifer Morris from Travel Savvy. Morris said there were currently flights from Mumbai and Delhi to Johannesburg via Doha on Qatar Airways.

There is also a weekly flight from Delhi to Johannesburg on Ethiopian Airways via Addis Ababa, she said.

“While there are no current restrictions on travellers from India to South Africa, it should be noted that this could change at any time,” said Morris.

The Qatar Airlines website states that effective April 29, 2021, passengers arriving or transiting in Qatar who have been in or transited through India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and the Philippines need to present a negative Covid-19 PCR test taken within 48 hours prior to their scheduled departure time from these countries.

The airline said all passengers must take the test at a medical centre approved to conduct a PCR test for Covid-19 by the respective health authorities at the country of origin.

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said this week that all South African ports of entry employed stringent containment procedures to minimise the importation of Covid-19.

“We are currently on high alert to screen passengers and test those who require further assessment.”

Mkhize confirmed that the B.1.617 variant circulating in India had not yet been detected in South Africa.

In a statement on Tuesday, Mkhize said last month that three air travellers from India arrived on Qatar Airlines flights through King Shaka International Airport.

“The first passenger subsequently took ill and remains in isolation at a health care facility, whilst the other two passengers are currently asymptomatic and in isolation at paid lodgings.

“Port Health has provided details of passengers who were close contacts and NICD have overseen the cases for sample collection, contact tracing and intensified surveillance.”

A ship called the Eaubonne, which sailed from India on May 18 and berthed at the Port of Durban on Sunday, is under quarantine after the death of a crew member and 14 other crew members tested positive for Covid-19.

It has not yet been determined whether the 14 crew members have the “Indian variant.”

According to the Johns Hopkins University Centre for Systems Science and Engineering and Our World in Data, India has over 20,7 million cases and over 220,000 deaths.