The discovery of the Omicron variant in late November last year resulted in a number of countries imposing flight and travel bans on nationals from several southern African countries.
The European Union advised all member states to reinstate restrictions against South Africa and the other affected nations in southern Africa. Most of Europe became inaccessible to South Africans at the end of November 2021.
With the Omicron variant now having spread to most countries across the globe and the World Health Organisation (WHO) stating that travel bans are not effective ways to prevent infections, a number of countries have begun to ease restrictions and lift flight and travel bans.
GRADUAL REOPENING TO SA
International travel restrictions — imposed on South Africa following the discovery of the Omicron coronavirus variant — are however slowly starting to ease.
The United Kingdom and the United States have also lifted the travel bans they placed on South Africa in November. The Netherlands and Denmark recently lifted their entry bans on South Africa.
Germany recently announced that it would reopen its borders to South Africa after it reclassified a group of southern African states from “virus variant states” to “high-risk states”.
FRANCE OPENS ITS BORDERS
France has also eased its entry restrictions on South African nationals.
The French Consulate in Cape Town has announced that South Africa has been removed from France’s scarlet list, which is a list of nations banned from entering the Republic of France. The change comes into effect immediately.
FRENCH ENTRY REQUIREMENTS
Business Insider says South African travellers to France are subject to COVID-19 testing protocols and that the requirement for fully vaccinated visitors to quarantine has been dropped.
All travellers from South Africa (aged 12 and over) regardless of vaccination status, must present a negative result (PCR or antigen test) taken less than 48 hours before their flight.
Travellers could also be required to take an antigen test upon arrival.
Vaccinated visitors do not have to provide reasons detailing the need to visit France but unvaccinated travellers will need to provide a compelling reason to enter France.
Unvaccinated visitors will be required to quarantine for 10 days while supervised by security forces in France.
Travellers to France will have to present documents proving their vaccination status and as well as a sworn statement certifying the absence of Covid-19 symptoms.
The double-dose Pfizer and single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccines which are used in South Africa’s vaccination programme are both approved by French authorities.