Yes, all travellers from Africa will have to produce a valid certificate from an accredited laboratory of a negative COVID-19 PCR test not older than 72 hours, at all ports of entry. This includes South Africans (re-)entering the country.
Exceptions to the 72-hour PCR test requirement apply to the following categories:
- Daily commuters from neighbouring countries who attend or teach at a school in South Africa
- Children below the age of five years
- Cross border freight operators
- Airline crew
- Medical evacuation crew undertaking medical evacuations
In addition, frequent travellers, defined as persons who travel through the borders of South Africa on more than one occasion within a 14-day period (excluding airline crew and cross border freight operators), must present a 72-hour PCR test upon initially entering South Africa. Thereafter, this initial test result may be presented on entry for subsequent travel for up to 14 days.
It should be noted that we have not received first-hand reports of how the 14-day exception is handled on the ground. It is not clear if this will be applied at land and air borders and whether or not airlines will adopt this direction and board ‘frequent travellers’ with a PCR test result older than 72 hours (but less than 14 days).