President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on 15 March 2020 that the government would impose the following travel restrictions:
- A travel ban on foreign nationals from high-risk countries such as Italy, Iran, South Korea, Spain, Germany, France, Switzerland, the USA, the UK and China from 18 March 2020.
- Travellers from medium-risk countries – Hong Kong, Singapore and Portugal – will be required to undergo high-intensity screening upon entry into the country.
- South African citizens are advised to refrain from all forms of travel to or through identified high-risk countries such as the EU, the USA, the UK, China, Iran and South Korea. Effective immediately.
- All non-essential domestic travel is discouraged, particularly by air, rail, taxis and bus.
- South African citizens returning from high-risk countries will be subjected to testing and self-isolation or quarantine on return to South Africa. The quarantine is compulsory and for 14 days.
It is important to note that the biggest denominator on implementing quarantine will be based on travel history, not nationality. Government has stated that this process deals with stigma issues that it is a time for solidarity, not stigmatisation. Since the travel ban announcements, some of the airlines have already started cancelling their scheduled flights and have notified affected passengers accordingly.