US lowers South Africa’s risk rating – but travel ban remains in place

Latest US journey advisory (10 June 2021)

  • South Africa, together with virtually 200 different nations, was positioned on the highest danger degree throughout the US State Department’s journey advisory system again in April.
  • On Tuesday, South Africa’s danger degree was lowered, with US nonetheless urging its residents to “reconsider travel”.
  • This would not change the present journey ban imposed on South Africa.
  • But, coupled with a brand new direct flight from New York to Johannesburg, may see an inflow of US vacationers.
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The United States has up to date its journey advisory bulletin for residents wishing to go to South Africa after inserting the nation on its highest danger alert degree again in April.  

The US Bureau of Consular Affairs has made sweeping adjustments to its worldwide journey advisories over the previous three months. Guided by information offered by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which analyses Covid-19 dangers in different elements of the world, the US has included well being notices with journey advisories to warn its residents of country-specific hazards.

This adjustment to the state division’s journey advisory system was rolled out in April and noticed almost 200 nations – together with South Africa – added to the Level 4 category. This highest danger degree, often known as the “do not travel to” record, was utilized to only 34 nations previous to the adjustment.

In addition to South Africa’s coronavirus-related dangers, the US warned that “violent crime, civil unrest, health risks, and drought” had been prevalent within the nation. This heightened danger score was met with criticism from South Africans who argued that the advisory was alarmist.

In one other spherical of changes to its travel advisory billboard on Tuesday, the US lowered South Africa’s danger score again to Level 3 which, as an alternative of warning residents to keep away from all journey, urges guests to “reconsider travel”. Prior to the pandemic, South Africa was listed as a Level 2 danger, with US residents advised to “exercise increased caution” when travelling.

While the latest decreasing of South Africa’s danger degree has eliminated warnings round drought and non-coronavirus well being dangers, crime, and civil unrest nonetheless type a part of the primary advisory.

“Violent crime, such as armed robbery, rape, carjacking, mugging, and ‘smash-and-grab’ attacks on vehicles, is common,” notes the present journey advisory.

“There is the next danger of violent crime within the central enterprise districts of main cities after darkish.”

The adjustment comes only one week after the US United Airlines began its new nonstop daily service between its New York hub at Newark Liberty International Airport and Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport.

South Africa travel US

Latest US travel advisory (10 June 2021)

The lowered risk level, which is more of a recommendation than a legal order, has the potential to attract US tourists to South Africa. Vaccinated US tourists do not need to quarantine upon their return to the country.

For South Africans hoping to travel to the US, however, the change in risk level and United Airline’s new service means very little. Travellers from South Africa are still on the US’ list of banned countries, alongside China, Iran, European Schengen states, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Brazil, and India.

South Africa was one of the first countries added to the”banned record” – largely because of the 501Y.V2 variant first detected in the Eastern Cape – back in January.

Since the travel ban was first imposed, several exemptions have been added to the presidential proclamation within the National Interest Exception (NIE) protocol. This allows certain South Africans, who are deemed beneficial to the US’ “nationwide pursuits”, access into the country.

Temporary farm workers, students, au pairs, employees in “essential sectors”, journalists, pilots, plane crews, and fiancé(e)s of US citizens have been included within the list of NIEs and may apply for specific visas.

(Compiled by Luke Daniel)

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