The restriction on South African countries was implemented to prevent and regulate the spread of the Omicron strain within the European Union. However, the entry ban has been deemed redundant because the Omicron variety now accounts for most infections within the Member States.
Arrivals from South African Countries Still Have to Comply with Entry Rules
On Monday, January 10th, the French EU presidency declared that the restriction on South African countries would be lifted. According to the latter, all 27 member states have decided to abolish the travel ban and restore air travel with South African countries.
Travelers from South African countries will, however, be subject to entry requirements that apply to other nationalities, such as presenting a vaccination or recovery certificate. Some countries additionally require a negative Covid-19 test for entering their territory.
Several EU countries had already lifted the travel ban before EU institutions made the decision.
On December 30th, German officials said that Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe would no longer be included on the virus variant list from January 4th.
As a result, all travelers from the nations mentioned above can now enter Germany as long as they adhere to the entry requirements.
On December 23rd, Norway also lifted the entrance restrictions imposed on visitors from eight South African nations.
The Travel Ban No Longer Makes Sense Because Omicron Is Everywhere Now
Because the Omicron variant has appeared in numerous countries, including Norway, the Norwegian Ministry of Health and Care Services believes it is no longer necessary to maintain measures that target travelers from these places. So, it makes sense that South African travelers are no longer banned in the EU.
The restriction was also lifted on December 23rd in the Netherlands. However, it was emphasized that the affected South African countries would remain classified as very high-risk areas with a virus variant of concern. The Netherlands implied that stricter rules would apply to visitors from South African countries rather than those from countries with a lower risk of the Omicron variant.
The Danish government also lifted the travel ban imposed on ten South African countries on the same day. Since then, visitors from Angola, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia, and Zimbabwe have been allowed to enter Denmark by producing a vaccination or recovery certificate or a negative Covid-19 test.
Except for the countries listed above, the prohibition will now automatically be lifted by the remaining member states, according to the EU authorities’ formal declaration.