EDITORIAL | Red list? It’s starting to look more like a blacklist

Ideas

EDITORIAL | Red list? It’s starting to look more like a blacklist

The UK seems to have unbanned just about every country except SA from its Covid-19 list

Editorial

International relations and co-operation minister (Dirco) Naledi Pandor has expressed dismay at the UK’s bizarre decision to keep SA on its so-called Covid-19 red list. There is “no reasonable” basis for this; our government is “shocked” and “very disappointed”. A Dirco statement read: “Thousands of families and business people in SA and the UK are shocked at this continued exclusion, especially given SA’s progress in combating the Covid-19 pandemic, as evidenced by the rapid declining infection rates due to a robust vaccination programme and excellent science.”

According to the red list, anyone travelling from a country on the list needs to follow a set of rules upon entering the UK — “even if you have been fully vaccinated”. These rules include taking a Covid-19 test in the three days before travelling and booking a “quarantine hotel package, including two Covid-19 tests”. Sunday Times Daily columnist Tony Leon recently went through this ordeal, pointing out in his column (https://www.timeslive.co.za/sunday-times-daily/opinion-and-analysis/2021-08-03-tony-leon-sa-should-insist-the-uk-changes-its-ludicrous-covid-travel-curbs/) the absurdity of it all: as he and his wife arrived in the UK, they were required to proceed to their “isolation” address on their own. “So, great though the theoretical risk might be that two high-risk South Africans might be carriers of the dread plague, we proceeded for three hours in two fairly crowded trains to the site of our isolation,” wrote Leon. 

He and his wife were also required to fill in a form on whether they had received a vaccination in the EU or the US. That the couple had received Pfizer vaccinations in SA, fully approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), was not taken into account since it was administered in the “wrong” country...

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