Coronavirus / COVID-19

NICD
World Health Organization
Frequently Asked Questions
Latest information
Hotline number
Background
Travel
Schools 
Symptoms
Frequently asked questions
Guidelines 
Government statements

Latest information from the the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD)

As of 19 March 2020, the total number of confirmed cases is now 150. 

President Ramaphosa announced that the COVID-19 outbreak has been declared a national state of disaster in terms of the Disaster Management Act. (https://www.gov.za/speeches/statement-president-cyril-ramaphosa-measures-combat-covid-19-epidemic-15-mar-2020-0000)

NICD Covid-19 19 March

Source: Health

For daily updates of countries, territories or areas with reported laboratory confirmed COVID-19 cases, please refer to:

Coronavirus – seven steps to prevent the spread of the virus

Hotline number

Whatsapp 0600 123 456 

National Institute for Communicable Diseases  0800 029 999

The Department of International Relations and Cooperation has set up a 24-hour hotline number for South African citizens based in Wuhan City, China.

South African Embassy in Beijing
Hotline: +86 135 0105 9041
Ms Lesego Pelompe
Mr Siyabonga Ponco

South African Consulate General in Shanghai
Hotline: +86 159 0045 4282
Ms Grace Motloutzi

Family members who require more information about their loved ones who will be repatriated can contact the Department of International Relations and Corporation (DIRCO) on the following contact details:
Email address: cicc1@dirco.gov.za or cicc2@dirco.gov.za  
Telephone number: 012 351 1754.

Background on Coronavirus / COVID-19

On 31 December 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) was alerted to several cases of pneumonia in Wuhan City, Hubei Province of China. On 7 January identified the new virus as a coronavirus, which is a family of viruses that include the common cold, and viruses such as SARS and MERS. This new virus was temporarily named “2019-Ncov.”

On 30 January the WHO declared the Novel Coronavirus a Public Health Emergency of International Concern and on the same day South Africa activated its Emergency Operations Centre (EOC).

WHO has been working with Chinese authorities and global experts to learn more about the virus, how it affects the people who are sick with it, how they can be treated, and what countries can do to respond.

The situation around the COVID-19 is still evolving. You will be updated as new information becomes available.

The attached communication toolkit serves to educate and create awareness on the emerging coronavirus. 

Travel

We are imposing a travel ban on foreign nationals from high-risk countries such as Italy, Iran, South Korea, Spain, Germany, the United States, the United Kingdom and China as from 18 March 2020.

We have cancelled visas to visitors from those countries from today and previously granted visas are hereby revoked.

South African citizens are advised to refrain from all forms of travel to or through the European Union, United States, United Kingdom and other identified high-risk countries such as China, Iran and South Korea.

Any foreign national who has visited high-risk countries in the past 20 days will be denied a visa.

South African citizens returning from high-risk countries will be subjected to testing and self-isolation or quarantine on return to South Africa.

Travellers from medium-risk countries – such as Portugal, Hong Kong and Singapore – will be required to undergo high intensity screening.

All travellers who have entered South Africa from high-risk countries since mid-February will be required to present themselves for testing.

South Africa has 72 ports of entry in the country which are land, sea and air ports.

Of the 53 land ports, 35 will be shut down with effect from Monday 16 March.

The ports to be closed are

Namibia:
Alexanderbay
Sendelingsdrfit
Onseepkans
Rietfontein

Botswana
Bray
Derdepoort
Mc Carthys Rest
Middelputs
Makopong
Makgobistad
Platjan
Pondrift
Stockpoort
Swartkopfontein
Tweerivieren
Zanzibar
Gemsbok

Mozambique
Pafuri
Kosibay
Giriyondo

Eswatini
Bothashoop
Emahlatini
Josefsdal
Nerston
Onverwacht
Waverley

Lesotho
Boesmansnek
Makhaleng
Ongeluksnek
Pekabridge
Ramatsiliso
Sanipass
Sephaphusgate
Tellebridge
Mononsthapass

2 of the 8 sea ports will be closed for passengers and crew changes.  (Mossel  Bay and Saldanha)

Effective immediately, all non-essential travel for all spheres of government outside of the Republic is prohibited

We further discourage all non-essential domestic travel, particularly by air, rail, taxis and bus.

Travel advisory (https://www.gov.za/speeches/travel-advisory-response-covid-19-pandemic-17-mar-2020-0000)

For any inquiries related to this Travel Advisory, contact the 24 hours operations centre of the Department of International Relations and Cooperation at +27 12 351 1000.

South African citizens

South African citizens planning to travel or transit through the Italian Republic, the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Republic of Korea, the Kingdom of Spain, the Federal Republic of Germany, the United States of America, the United Kingdom, the French Republic, the Swiss Confederation and the People’s Republic of China presently identified as high risk countries, as well as the European Union, should refrain from doing so. This includes all forms of travel to or through identified high- risk countries. South African citizens are also to refrain from traveling on cruise ships due to the inherent risks involved in such travel as recent experiences have shown. This is effective immediately, until further notice. Non-essential travel to other countries should also be cancelled or postponed.

South African citizens returning from high-risk countries will be subjected to testing and self-isolation or quarantine on return to South Africa.

South African citizens should be aware that there are health risks when they travel and should check the travel and health notices for COVID-19 at their destinations. Increased health screening measures at ports of entry for international destinations, which may include entry requirements, border closures, flight suspensions and quarantines, can be expected.

South African citizens should contact the South African Mission/Consulate in the country of their destination, to inform them of their presence in the country and provide them with information such as contact details, duration of stay, etc.

Foreign travellers

All entry, regardless of compliance with visa requirements, of foreign travellers with ordinary passports, travelling from or transiting through high-risk countries presently identified as the Italian Republic, the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Republic of Korea, the Kingdom of Spain, the Federal Republic of Germany, the United States of America, the United Kingdom, the French Republic, the Swiss Confederation and the People’s Republic of China is prohibited until further notice. No applications for visas by foreign travellers from high-risk countries will be approved. Visas already issued are revoked with immediate effect for travellers that have not yet entered South Africa.

Visa waiver agreements with countries identified by the Department of Health as high- and medium-risk will be suspended from dates that will be advised through Travel Alerts.

Any foreign national who has visited high-risk countries in the past 20 days will be denied a visa.

Any foreign national affected by these travel restrictions who needs to travel to South Africa for emergency or compelling reasons may contact the nearest South African mission or consulate to apply for a visa. Such visa applications will be considered on merit and on a case-by-case basis.

The above restrictions exclude holders of diplomatic passports and travel documents issued by international organisations as well as their family members accredited to the Republic of South Africa, and holders of official/service passports. The travel restrictions will also not apply to the crew members of aircraft and cargo ships, as well as cross border rail and road transportation workers. However, such travellers will be subjected to medical screening and if required, can be isolated or quarantined for a minimum period of 14 days.

All international travellers

All international travellers, including South African citizens, entering South Africa will be required to complete and submit the prescribed Health Form and hand it to Health officials and Immigration officers upon arrival.

All travellers will be subjected to medical screening for COVID-19 upon entering South Africa and if required, can be isolated or quarantined for a minimum period of 14 days. Over and above the normal immigration requirements, entry into South Africa is subject to a passenger’s cooperation with officials conducting tests.

Travellers from medium-risk countries as identified by the South African Department of Health will be required to undergo high intensity screening.

All travellers who have entered South Africa from high-risk countries since 15 February 2020 will be required to present themselves for testing.

South Africa has placed restrictions on attendance of international meetings. All organisers or attendees of international meetings are strongly advised to confirm whether attendance will be permitted before travelling to South Africa.

Schools

Schools will be closed from Wednesday, 18 March, and will remain closed until after the Easter Weekend.

To compensate, the mid-year school holidays will be shortened by a week.

Statements

More information

More on: Health


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