Minister Pandor briefed the media on the international relations highlights for 2020 on Monday 14 December. This is when she cautioned South Africans on visiting countries abroad as lockdowns may happen and thus international flights could be cancelled leaving them stranded in these countries.
"South Africans should be cautious in travelling to these countries as you may become distressed or even destitute abroad," she said.
This comes as countries in the northern hemisphere are experiencing a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic and they may introduce new restrictions as a result of this.
Pandor said that more than 30 000 South Africans were stranded across the globe during the initial wave of the COVID-19 pandemic and had to be sent back to South Africa, using more than 350 flights, between the level 5 lockdown in March and the time when international travel was allowed again under level 1 in SA. This number excludes thousands of those people who used the land borders to enter the country.
“This experience has made us realise the importance of making sure we equip all South Africans who intend travelling abroad during this season with information that might help them not find themselves needing to be repatriated because they are stranded." said Pandor.
She said that those travelling internationally should be aware and read up thoroughly on the country they plan to visit as globally the situation of the COVID-19 pandemic remains 'unstable'.
“If the country you visit is a high risk, consider postponing your visit or proceeding with caution if the travel is avoidable. Know the Covid-19 protocols of the country you intend visiting and should you not comply, you might be refused entry.
“Although not common, many airlines will likely require proof of Covid-19 vaccinations before commencing travel. Currently, a Covid-19 test is compulsory.”-International Relations and Cooperation Minister Naledi Pandor
Minister Pandor also encouraged travellers to sign up for travel insurance and to be aware of the contact details of the South African embassies in the country they plan to visit.
“Please note you will be travelling at your own risk to these countries, knowing the current circumstances and the uncertainty going forward,”-International Relations and Cooperation Minister Naledi Pandor