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How Covid-19 Traffic Light System Affects African Travel

Covid-19 Affects Africa travel
Written by See Africa Today

As vaccine programs roll out across the world, more travelers are taking to the skies again.

This might give hope to the tourism industry, particularly in Africa. But there is a catch; some countries are in the category of Covid19 hot spots.

Travelers are subsequently discouraged from visiting such countries. Consequently, there has been an introduction of a Covid19 traffic light system by countries like the United Kingdom.

How Does This System Work?

The traffic light system consists of Green, Amber, and Red. Green countries are seen as safe and have very few restrictions. Amber countries are treated with caution and have a few layers of restrictions. In contrast, Red-listed countries are perceived as no-go areas and come with stringent restrictions.

This traffic light system has already been implemented in the United Kingdom and is likely to be adopted elsewhere.

facts about African travel.

Africa Travel. [Photo: Goway Travel]

Red List Rules

Red-list countries are those the UK government says the highest Covid risk presently. They say these should not be visited “except in the most extreme of circumstances.” Dozens of countries are on the red list, including Kenya, Zambia, South Africa, and  Zimbabwe.

What you must do if you have been in a country on the red list in the ten days before you arrive in England. You must follow these rules even if you have gotten both vaccine doses. If you have been in a country or territory on the red list in the last ten days, you will only be allowed to enter the UK.

But, you have to be a British or Irish National or you have residence rights in the UK. There is separate guidance on what you need to do if you are traveling abroad from England. People returning from red list countries will need to pay to quarantine in a government-approved hotel for ten days.

Returning from a red-list country – regardless of your vaccination status – you must:

Take a Covid-19 test before departure and have proof of a negative result

Complete a passenger locator form

Self-isolate for ten days in a government-approved quarantine hotel, booked and paid for in advance

Ten days (11 nights) for one adult – £2,285

Additional adult (12 and over) – £1,430

Children aged five to 11 – £325

Amber List Rules

What are the rules for returning from an amber-list country?

The vast majority of countries are on the amber list. Adults fully vaccinated in the UK, the US, and most European countries don’t have to self-isolate upon arrival in the UK. A Covid test is needed three days before returning from an amber country, and a PCR test two days after arriving. Adults who are not fully vaccinated need to take an additional PCR test on or after day eight.

Under-18s do not have to self-isolate. In England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, children aged ten and under don’t have to test before travel. But do need to take one, two days after arrival. Those aged four and under don’t need any tests.

Green List Rules

People returning from a country on this list will not need to quarantine. They will only be required to take one test two days after arriving. Nobody has to self-isolate after visiting countries on the green list.

Returning from a green-list destination, you must:

Take a Covid-19 test before departure and have proof of a negative result. Book a test for day two after your return (children aged four and under do not need to take these)

Complete a passenger locator form.

What Does This Mean For Africa?

Unfortunately, there are no African countries currently featuring on the Green list. This means travel to the continent is still seen as risky and will have some consequences. The vast majority of African countries are in the Amber Zone.

Kruger National Park, home to the world’s big five

The Kruger photographic safari [Photo by Timbuktu Travel]

While this is not ideal, travel to such countries is still possible without quarantine for ten days at great cost. A handful of countries are in the Red zone. Unfortunately, these countries will see less travel. Visiting such countries comes with mandatory quarantining at government-sanctioned hotels. This is a massive deterrent as it involves paying thousands of dollars and the inconvenience attached to it.

What Tests Will Travelers Need?

Going on holiday now means taking Covid tests. Different types of tests are for different stages:

Pre-departure test before leaving your country – each country has its own rules for arriving holidaymakers

In the three days before returning home, you will need to take a PCR or lateral flow/antigen test.

Tests after you arrive home- these must be PCR tests, booked before travel

Transit Rules

There might be occurrences during your travel when you have to transit through a Red listed country. Unfortunately, in such cases, you will have to change your arrival procedure. This is because you will be coming from a Red list country.

This information is changing every day, so be sure to check travel advisories in your country and destination. You may need to check the status of any transit countries before you commit to paying for your ticket. Do make sure you carry enough money to cover the cost of PCR tests when you arrive. These range from as low as $30 to $150, so do your research. Travel to Africa during Covid19 will be possible but be prepared to face a few hiccups as the world opens up.

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About the author

See Africa Today

Pharis Kinyua is the editor of See Africa Today. With over seven years of experience in digital media, he has a soft spot for African tours and travel. His drive is to tell the rest of the world what Africa offers, the best accommodation facilities, national parks, culture, shopping malls and best airline deals to travel to Africa

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