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Government to roll out antigen tests at all ports of entry

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Government has released a statement stipulating that antigen tests for SARS-CoV-2 detection will be rolled out at all ports of entry in South Africa with immediate effect.

The purpose of this rollout is to alleviate the logistical complications that a point of entry COVID-19 PCR test poses, including cost, time and capacity.

Antigen tests (different from antibody tests) are immunoassays that detect the presence of a specific viral antigen. The advantage of the antigen test is that it costs about R150-R170, as opposed to R850 for the PCR test, and the results are available in 15 minutes.

The statement outlines the procedure for travellers arriving at a port of entry without a certified negative PCR test, the administration of the antigen test, and requirements should a test come back positive.

Government wishes to reassure all affected people that these measures are put in place not to penalise travellers but to protect each other from the devastations of COVID-19.

Please note, we have raised queries regarding some of these measures so we are reassured that travellers are treated fairly upon arrival and that those who are safe to enter, are able to do so without unnecessary burden.

ASATA is assessing government’s statement and seeking further clarity on the impact this roll out is likely to have on the tourism industry. We will communicate any developments as they are made available and update our FAQs accordingly.


The impact of COVID-19 on the travel industry is unprecedented and unpredictable. The nature of the content that is being shared on the ASATA coronavirus microsite is therefore constantly changing. Please check the date of the post to ascertain its recency.
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