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Covid-19: South Africa eager to leave UK travel red list

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Nardus Engelbrecht/Nardus Engelbrecht

South Africa

South Africa is among a number of African countries that have been red-listed by the United Kingdom, meaning travel from the countries is suspended.

The red list placement means people in the UK are banned from traveling to South Africa. It also means anyone traveling from Britain to South Africa faces a mandatory 10-day quarantine when returning home, even if they are fully vaccinated and test negative for coronavirus.

In a recent discussion, the Department of Health and the UK High Commission put forward the latest trends around Covid-19 as well as the country's vaccination program.

"We're delighted that the UK High Commission has engaged with the South Africans and the UK government has engaged with South African scientists and medical professionals. That dialogue has been really constructive. We feel heard and engaged with. We feel that at last there's a proper understanding of the capabilities in South Africa. We are delighted to hear that it is likely that South Africa will be removed from the red list," said Jon Foster-Pedley, the British Chamber of Commerce South Africa board chair.

Africa's most industrialized economy is desperate to welcome visitors. The country has administered over 16 million vaccines. A big chunk of the country's tourists come from the UK. The World Travel and Tourism Council said the continued placement of South Africa on the red list by London could spell more disaster for the economy which has already lost millions of jobs.

Others argue that the UK's approach could hurt bilateral trade and economic relations.

"South Africa believes in diplomacy," said Kganki Matabane, the CEO of Black Business Council.

"In diplomacy, you do not do a tit for tat. Also, you need to check the economic size of the countries you're dealing with. The UK is not smaller than us so before you take any other drastic measures of tit for tat, you need to consider the economic implications of the decision," he added

The UK is set to review its border measures in a fortnight.

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