ALL eyes are now on the Government of Swaziland which has greeted with silence announcements by both neighbours South Africa and Mozambique who have committed to open their border gates on Thursday morning.
The silence has global implications as a timely decision has immediate impact on the Kingdom’s economic competitiveness. Eswatini sits between Mozambique and South Africa, and when conditions are right, well placed as a gateway for tourists destined for the Maputo beaches and cultural experience.
Both Mozambique and South Africa set clear long range timelines to prepare their communities, especially tourism business that has been ruined by the Coronavirus 2019 pandemic.
Early in September, Prime Minister Mandvulo Dlamini extended a ban on liquor and promised to address the nation on the COVID-19 status at the end of September.
Here is what Travellers need to know.
On 7 September Mozambique transitioned from a State of Emergency (SOE) to a State of Public Calamity (SOPC) to allow continued COVID-19 measures without violating their constitution. The SOPC will continue indefinitely at the red alert level for as long as the risk of spreading COVID-19 exists in Mozambique. SOPC will enable COVID-19 prevention measures to be retained while a gradual resumption of social and economic activities in coordination with health authorities.
During the SOPC the following prevention measures remain in effect:
General measures to prevent the pandemic, including facemask use and social distancing
Continued quarantine, isolation, and hospitalization policies defined under the SOE
Closure of clubs, bars, and informal stalls which sell alcoholic beverages
Suspension of team sport activities
Reduced hours of operation for markets
Passenger limits for buses, vans, and other methods of public transportation
The Ministry of Health (MISAU) continues screening and scanning temperatures of all travellers at airports and other points of entry.
Proof of COVID-19 status
Travelers will be required to provide proof of negative Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR)-based COVID-19 test results administered in their country of origin within 72 hours of departure.
All arrivals to Mozambique, regardless of citizenship, will be on a mandated 10-day self-quarantine.
Following the 10-day self-quarantine, travellers will be required to pass a second PCR-based COVID-19 test to confirm continued negative test results. The traveller will incur the cost for the test. Alternately, travellers can complete a 14-day self-quarantine day period without undergoing a second PCR-based COVID-19 test.
South Africa downgraded its COVID status to the minimum Alert Level 1 with effect from Sunday 20 September 2020 after COVID-19 infection levels showed significant signs of reduction while health systems capacity to manage current needs was considered sufficient.
Alert level 1 further eased restrictions on gatherings.
Social, religious, political and other gatherings will be permitted, as long as the number of people does not exceed 50% of the normal capacity of a venue, up to a maximum of 250 people for indoor gatherings and 500 people for outdoor gatherings.
Health protocols, such as washing or sanitising of hands, social distancing and mask- wearing, will be strictly observed.
The maximum number of people who may attend a funeral is increased from 50 to 100 due to the higher risk of viral transmission at funerals. Night vigils are still not permitted.
Venues for exercise, recreation and entertainment – such as gyms and theatres – which were limited to no more than 50 people, will now be allowed to accommodate up to 50% of their venue’s capacity as determined by available floor space, subject to social distancing and other health protocols.
Existing restrictions on sporting events remain in place.
With the move to alert level 1, we will gradually and cautiously ease restrictions on international travel.
Travel into and out of South Africa for business, leisure and other travel will be allowed with effect from 1 October 2020.
TRAVE TO SOUTH AFRICA: This is what you need to know
Travel may be restricted to and from certain countries that have high infection rates. A list of countries will be published based on the latest scientific data.
Travellers will only be able to use one of the land border posts that have remained operational during the lockdown. These are Ngwenya, Lavumisa, Mahamba, Mananga and Matsamo.
On arrival, travellers will need to present a negative COVID-19 test result not older than 72 hours from time of departure.
Where a traveller has not done a COVID-19 test prior to departure, they will be required to remain in mandatory quarantine at their own cost.
All travellers will be screened on arrival and those presenting with symptoms will be required to remain in quarantine until a repeat COVID-19 test is conducted.
All travellers will be asked to install a COVID Alert South Africa mobile app.