Both the UK and Australia have removed travel restrictions to African nations as of December 15th, in a move that is being applauded as being in line with the latest science and the fact that the omicron variant of COVID-19 is widespread throughout the world.
Other first-world countries have been urged to follow suit. Aaron Munetsi, CEO of the Airlines Association of Southern Africa, stated, "We trust that policy-makers and political leaders will take their lead from science and harmonise their adoption of measures for safe air travel that are recommended by the World Health
Organisation and its UN sister body, the International Civil Aviation Organisation."
The news is a welcome relief for the millions of people across Southern Africa who are dependent on tourism for an income and for the many families who wish to be reunited.
Asata CEO Otto de Vries noted that the travel bans imposed on South Africa were nothing short of devastating for the travel industry, stating, "We urge that these countries react with the same swiftness and urgency now by also lifting their travel bans and restrictions on South Africa with immediate effect."
The UK removes Southern African countries from the red list.
UK Health Secretary Sajid Javid announced that 11 countries were removed from the UK's red list at 04:00 GMT on December 15. This means that anyone coming from any of those 11 countries will no longer be required to spend 2 weeks in a state-approved quarantine hotel at a cost of £2,855.
The provisional screening procedures for everyone entering the UK from abroad will remain in place.
COVID-19 tests must be taken within 48 hours of departing for the UK.
PCR tests must be taken within two days of arrival.
Australia removes additional border restrictions from eight African nations.
The Chief Medical Officer of Australia has declared that, as of today, December 15, Australia's border restrictions on travellers who have visited the following eight Southern African nations will be lifted. Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe.
Travellers arriving in Australia from one of these eight countries now must comply with Australia's standard border requirements. These are:
Providing proof of a COVID-19 (PCR) test result that is negative within three days of arrival in Australia
Completion of the Australia Travel Declaration, which includes a vaccination declaration
Compliance with any further testing or quarantine requirements imposed by the state or territory in which you arrive.