Travelers who have been longing to visit Cape Town, hike Table Mountain, take a safari, or explore the history of Johannesburg will be happy to learn that, as of today, South Africa has dropped all of their COVID restrictions, This includes the enforcing of masks, requiring testing, mandating vaccinations, and even performing border checks for those entering the country by land.
According to an official release from the country’s tourism agency, “It is pleasing to note that the trajectory of the pandemic has eased, and South Africa has exited a mild fifth infection wave. According to Phaahla, the latest epidemiological analysis indicated that as of mid-June, there was a decline in the critical indicators monitored by the National Institute for Communicable Diseases.”
And this is true, according to Google’s COVID dashboard, which uses data from The New York Times, Johns Hopkins, and more, South Africa is currently only averaging about 2,000 new cases a day, an amount substantially lower than the US, which is currently seeing about 170,000 new cases per day.
Interestingly enough, According to Al Jazeera, while only 50% of the country has received one dose of the vaccine, 46% is fully vaccinated, meaning almost everyone who received the first dose came back for the second. A large portion of the country also has antibodies as South Africa was hit hard during the Delta and Omicron waves of the pandemic, meaning whether it be it from vaccines or infections, a large portion of their population now has antibodies against the virus, decreasing the COVID death rate.
According to the article, the country is still encouraging anyone who has yet to be vaccinated to get the shot, quoting health minister Joe Phaahla, who said, “The COVID-19 virus is not yet gone…we are just stronger than before, especially with vaccination.”
For up-to-date info on South Africa and its travel protocols, be sure to check their official tourism website.