Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula on has said at OR Tambo International that any non-South African citizens flying into South Africa from identified high-risk countries would not be allowed entry, and measures had already been implemented throughout the day.
President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday said the identified countries included Italy, Iran, South Korea, Spain, Germany, the United States, the United Kingdom and China.
“They arrived because they were already airborne by the time [further] restrictions [against them] were announced.” He later explained that the ban was announced from 18 March, and “it has now been operationalised”.
“One of those that arrived was Air China which arrived at OR Tambo International Airport around 08H37 from Shenzhen and it was also subjected to the travel restrictions.”
Eighty South Africans, among them students, were screened from that flight and taken to a provincial facility in Gauteng for clinical assessments that would inform the applicable quarantine measures to be taken. Similar measures were taken with the citizens on the other flights, who were bused to the facility.
Lufthansa, Virgin Atlantic, British Airways, Air France and Alitalia were the other airlines affected.
“I want to dismiss the false information going around that the airports are closing,” said Mbalula. “All operations are [otherwise] normal.”
He said the national command centre, chaired by Ramaphosa, would have to decide on whether airports would still be shut down completely, but that had not yet happened.
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