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Directions on Movement to Manage COVID-19 Drawn Up

March 30, 2020

Department of Home Affairs

Directions prescribing temporary measures on movement in and out of South Africa necessary to manage COVID-19 in order to reduce its impact have been drawn up.

The home affairs department published the directions in Government Gazette 43162 in terms of the Disaster Management Act.

The measures to prevent and combat the spread of COVID-19 aim to reduce the impact of the pandemic by preventing the importing of, and minimizing the local transmission of, the virus.

The directions apply to citizens, permanent residents and foreign nationals during the national state of disaster with paragraph 17 applying to the nationwide lockdown.

The directions focus on withdrawal of visas, suspension of visa exemptions, refusal of visas, refusal of admission for foreigners, admission of citizens and permanent residents, transit of foreigners through and departure from South Africa, visa concessions for foreigners, airline crew members and emergency medical rescue, diplomats, travel restrictions for citizens and permanent residents, closure of some ports of entry and national lockdown.

All temporary residents’ visas issued to foreigners in high-risk countries, with the exception of those who were already in the country on or before 15 March 2020, are withdrawn from the date of publication of the directions.

All foreigners from high-risk countries in South Africa on or before 15 February 2020 must notify a medical practitioner in accordance with the procedure for a suspected COVID-19 case.

Foreigners will be entitled to visa concessions if they are unable to return to their country of origin and people with visitors’ visas that have expired will be able to apply for the same visa for a period not exceeding 90 days.

South African citizens and permanent residents are advised to refrain from non-essential travel to high-risk countries and exercise caution in relation to any other travel outside South Africa.

During the nationwide lockdown, no foreigner may be issued with a visa and no person will be allowed entry into, or transit through, or departure from, South Africa.

Closed seaports include Mossel Bay and Saldanha while a list of closed land ports is also provided.