News Alerts

04 Dec 2020 | 03:39 PM UTC

South Africa: State of disaster extended through January 15, 2021, with additional restrictions in place for Nelson Mandela Bay /update 15

South Africa News Alert

South Africa extends state of disaster through Jan. 15, 2021. Additional restrictions in place for Nelson Mandela Bay.

TIMEFRAME expected from 12/4/2020, 3:39 PM until 1/15/2021, 11:59 PM (UTC). COUNTRY/REGION South Africa


Authorities in South Africa have extended the national state of disaster through Jan. 15, 2021. Nationwide Level 1 restrictions to curb the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) remain in place; however, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced additional restrictions for Nelson Mandela Bay in the Eastern Cape.

International Travel Restrictions:

  • Three international airports are open for the entry and departure of foreign travelers, namely O.R. Tambo (JNB), Cape Town International (CPT), and King Shaka International Airport (DUR).

  • Effective Nov. 12, 18 land ports of entry are fully operational; however, 35 border posts remain closed due to insufficient capacity for screening, testing, and quarantine. Small-craft passenger maritime travel is allowed to resume; however, the government continues to ban all cruise ships from docking.

  • Those entering South Africa will be required to provide a negative COVID-19 test taken no longer than 72 hours before arrival in the country.

  • All travelers will be screened upon arrival. Those showing symptoms of COVID-19 will be required to take a test. Travelers who test positive will be subject to mandatory quarantine for up to 10 days at a designated facility. Authorities also require proof of accommodation, should they need to self-quarantine at the time of arrival in the country.

  • Travelers departing South Africa will be subject to screening. Those found to have had COVID-19 may be subject to further testing. The outcome of the test will determine whether or not the person may depart the country, as determined by the Director-General of Health or a delegated person. Travelers testing positive will need to self-isolate; this may be done at one's private residence.

Domestic Restrictions:

  • All retail outlets are permitted to operate as long as social-distancing measures are followed.

  • Public rail transportation, minibus taxi, and bus services are permitted but need to adhere to directives following the increase of commuters. These will be announced in the coming days. E-hailing services will be permitted to operate under certain circumstances and between designated hours. More information on this will be announced in the coming days.

  • A 0000-0400 nightly curfew is in place. Medical personnel and other essential workers are exempt from the measure but require a travel permit.

  • There will be no limitations on personal movement, including interprovincial travel; however, people are encouraged to travel only when essential.

  • The mandatory wearing of facemasks in public remains in place. Those caught contravening this measure will face fines or criminal charges.

  • Social, religious, political, and other gatherings will be permitted, so long as the capacity does not exceed 50 percent of the venue. No more than 250 people are permitted to gather in indoor spaces, and no more than 500 are to gather in outdoor spaces.

  • Funeral attendance is set at a maximum of 100 people.

Nelson Mandela Bay Restrictions:

  • A 2200-0400 nightly curfew is in place. Medical personnel and other essential workers are exempt from the measure but require a travel permit.

  • Gatherings will be permitted as long as the capacity does not exceed 50 percent of the venue. No more than 100 people are permitted to gather in indoor spaces, and no more than 250 are to gather in outdoor spaces. All post-funeral gatherings are prohibited.

  • Restrictions on the sale and consumption of alcohol are in place.

Authorities have reiterated that the disease activity will determine the increase or decrease of restrictive measures in individual districts, metros, and provinces that are identified as coronavirus hotspots. Further amendments to updated restrictions are possible in the coming days. The resumption of economic activities in additional sectors is subject to stringent health and safety measures.


South Africa's travel restrictions and preventive measures correspond with similar actions other governments are taking globally in response to the spread of COVID-19.

Stages of the phasing of restrictive measures are as follows:

  • Level 5 – Drastic measures are required.

  • Level 4 – Some activity can be allowed, subject to extreme requirements.

  • Level 3 – The easing of some restrictions on work and social activities.

  • Level 2 – Further easing of restrictions, but the maintenance of social distancing.

  • Level 1 – Most normal activity can resume, with caution and health guidelines followed at all times.

COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the WHO declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic. South Africa declared a National State of Disaster on March 15 and implemented nationwide movement restrictions on March 26.


Heed all official advisories and remain nonconfrontational if stopped by authorities. Reconfirm all travel arrangements if traveling to, from, or via South Africa. Shipping disruptions may occur; consider delaying or rerouting shipments. Consider delaying travel if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19.

Exercise basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.


South Africa Health Department

COVID-19 Online Resource

Government of South Africa

High-risk countries


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