Covid-19: UK removes South Africa from Red List

Friday October 08 2021

Customers at a check-in desk in the departures hall Heathrow Airport in west London on December 21, 2020. The UK has confirmed South Africa will be removed from its Red List of Covid-19 restricted travel from October 11, 2021. PHOTO | AFP


The United Kingdom has confirmed that South Africa will be removed from its “red list” from October 11.

South Africa will be among the 47 countries and territories to be struck off the red list, in a move expected to boost domestic tourism in South Africa. 

Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Haiti, Panama, Peru and Venezuela will, however, remain on the red list until further notice.

“From October 11, eligible, fully vaccinated travellers from South Africa will be able to travel to the UK. They will not have to isolate and won’t need a pre-travel test, but just a day two test,” the UK embassy in Pretoria announced.

However, the passengers who will not be fully vaccinated will need to isolate for 10 days or “test to release” on day five of isolation.

“The UK and South Africa have a strong relationship and shared values. We greatly appreciate efforts by the UK and South African scientists and for the discussion held last week to share the latest data on Covid-19. We will continue to support South Africa’s Ministry of Health’s Covid-19 response and vaccine rollout,” the statement added.

“Red list reduced to seven destinations with 47 countries and territories will be removed effective Monday, October 11,” the UK government said.


“Government extends inbound vaccinated arrivals system to a further 37 countries and territories across the globe, including India, South Africa and Turkey. This means that the eligible vaccinated passengers arriving from the rest of world countries only need to take a day 2 test in England.

“Passengers returning to England from these destinations will no longer be required to enter hotel quarantine.

“From 4am on Monday, October 11, eligible travellers vaccinated in over 37 new countries and territories including Brazil, Ghana, Hong Kong, India, Pakistan, South Africa and Turkey, will also be treated the same as returning fully vaccinated UK residents, so long as they have not visited a red list country or territory in the 10 days before arriving in England,” the statement added.

The restrictive measures were hurting South Africa’s tourism already hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.

Travellers from the UK account for the biggest number of tourist arrivals in South Africa.

Grant Shapps, the UK Transport Secretary, said, “With half-term and winter sun around the corner, we’re making it easier for families and loved ones to reunite, by significantly cutting the number of destinations on the red list, thanks in part to the increased vaccination efforts around the globe.”

South Africa is considered as one of the “winter sun” destinations together with Botswana and Tanzania among other countries around the world.

A recent report published by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) showed that the South African economy was losing $12 million every week while it remained on the UK’s red list.
In recent weeks, the South African government has been engaging the UK to be removed from the restricted travel list.