South Africa could find itself off the United Kingdom’s (UK) travel red list, if what President Cyril Ramaphosa has said is anything to go by. He recently had a talk with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson over the matter and says both leaders agreed that the decision to impose any travel restrictions should be based on science.
The country revised the list earlier this month – removing eight countries, including Bangladesh, Egypt, Maldives and Kenya, however South Africa did not make the cut. This means that those travelling from the country to the UK will only be allowed entry if they are British or Irish nationals or have residence rights in the UK.
Ramaphosa chats to Boris Johnson on UK red list
President Cyril Ramaphosa has previously stressed that the UK is an important trading partner for South Africa, which warranted the travel restrictions between both countries to be eased, particularly given the economic consequences of the red list remaining unchanged.
Ramaphosa was addressing the nation and announced that the country would be moving to Alert Level 1 of the Lockdown. He also used the opportunity to inform South Africans about his chat with Johnson.
“The United Kingdom imposed a travel ban on South Africans by red listing our country. This has put us in a disadvantaged position, since the United Kingdom is South Africa’s biggest source of tourism from the northern hemisphere and a significant trading partner,” Ramaphosa said on Thursday evening, 30 September 2021.
Ramaphosa added that while UK scientists were concerned about the presence of the Beta variant of COVID-19 in South Africa, the reality was that the Delta variant is far more dominant. This is the same stance taken by health experts who said the UK’s decision to keep South Africa on its travel red list didn’t make any sense.
“Earlier today I had a call with the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to discuss this matter. I put South Africa’s case to him, which he understood very well. We both agreed that decisions of this nature should be informed by science and are hopeful of a positive outcome when the issue comes up for review in the coming days”
President Cyril Ramaphosa