News Level 1: Reopening the borders – how a ‘two-phased...

Level 1: Reopening the borders – how a ‘two-phased approach’ might work

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It’s almost ‘all systems go’ for Level 1 of lockdown in South Africa, and the major changes are set to occur within our travel regulations. Some six months after the international borders were closed down, it seems that the restrictions will finally be eased on Wednesday evening – thanks to plans drawn up by Cabinet this week.

How will South Africa reopen its borders?

As Bloomberg reported earlier in the day, three senior sources have confirmed that South Africa will open the door for foreign visitors – and inversely, encourage locals to travel abroad – but the floodgates won’t be torn off their hinges. Instead, a more cautious plot is likely to be implemented, as SA prepares to walk before it can run.

The blueprint, split into different parts, would work like so:

  • These plans would result in our borders being reopened in a ‘two-phased approach’.
  • Phase One sees travel initially being allowed within the continent of Africa.
  • Phase Two, eventually, would then introduce routes to destinations further afield, such as Europe, Asia, North America etc.
  • Some countries may remain banned from travel if they are recording high COVID-19 infection rates.
  • ‘Within the next two weeks’, South Africa could see its borders open for the first time since March.

The road to Level 1

It’ll be all eyes on the TV – or live stream – at 19:00 this evening when Cyril Ramaphosa addresses the nation. He is set to announce the transition to Level 1, including all the important dates and rule changes. Along with a reopening of our borders, measures on social gatherings and crowd attendances at certain events will also be reviewed.

It marks an exceptional turnaround for the country, which was still fighting a surge in cases as recently as late July. A sharp drop in infections brought along Level 2 of lockdown during August, but this phase has lasted barely a month.

Real progress has been made, but it’s worth remembering these alert levels are on a sliding scale. South Africa can move backwards just as quickly as it moved forward, should there be a substantial rise in COVID-19 transmission.

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