Nov 29, 2021

UK Red List Block Harming Businesses From Both Countries – Pandor

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UK ceased travellers from South Africa following the fear of newly discovered Delta variant.

FILE PHOTO: Government insiders said the change would have the effect of providing a greater incentive to the 10% of those eligible to be vaccinated who have not yet had their first jab. PICTURE: Andy Rain/EPA

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PRETORIA: The UK Department of Transport announced that South Africa will remain on the list on the latest update to its traffic light system on Friday.

Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Naledi Pandor says the department aims to strengthen the efforts to remove South Africa from the United Kingdom (UK) red list block.

The UK Department of Transport announced that South Africa will remain on the list on the latest update to its traffic light system on Friday.

Minister Pandor is positive that the UK government will realise that their decision is not harming the tourism industry but other businesses from both countries.

“We firmly believe there is no reasonable basis for keeping SA on the red list and I am very disappointed.

“The red list travel notice had placed heavy restrictions on South African wanting to travel to the UK,” she said.

However, as South Africa continues to be on the red list, Kenya, Bangladesh, Oman, Pakistan, Egypt, Sri Lanka, Maldives and Turkey have been moved to the less restrictive amber list.

According to UK, the changes will be effective at 4am on Wednesday 22 September.

The UK implemented its traffic lights travel system which categorised countries in three lists, red, green and amber according to their Covid-19 risk.

The travel between UK and South Africa has been strictly restricted over the past nine months. In December, the UK ceased travellers from South Africa following the fear of newly discovered Delta variant.

The impact of travel restrictions has wedged the tourism and trade between SA and UK. This came as a result of UK being one of the biggest source markets in South Africa.

South African Tourism Services Association (SATSA) CEO David Forest said, this is a kick in the teeth for 1.5 million South African tourism who were relying on UK visitors spring.

Mr Forest said, the UK government has an irrational fear of South Africa which is influencing decision making. There isn’t shred of scientific evidence to support keeping South Africa on the red list.

“The UK government needs to urgently reconsider this classification to avoid irreparable harm to a relationship with a key ally and trading partner,” he said.

Currently, lost business and tourism are costing the country billions.

The UK’s government also announced that it will be doing away with its traffic light system and adopting a simpler system coming into effect from 4 October.

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