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SA and UK experts meet over travel red list concerns: health dept

The department of international relations and cooperation says it will intensify its efforts to get SA off the UK's red list.
The department of international relations and cooperation says it will intensify its efforts to get SA off the UK's red list.
Image: Alaister Russell

Information provided by SA scientists to their UK counterparts will be factored into the latter country's decision-making on whether to keep SA on its travel “red list”.

Travellers from, or who travelled through, countries on the red list are required to quarantine at their own expense before being permitted entry into the UK. The SA government, and scientists, have argued that keeping the country on the list does not make scientific sense, and threatened to severely dent the country's already battered tourism sector as the December holidays approached.

In a statement, the health department confirmed that SA scientists met their UK counterparts on Monday “to discuss the latest trends around Covid-19, respective Covid-19 testing strategies, and the prevalence and risk posed to our vaccination programmes by variants of concern”.

“The UK and SA are both leading scientific nations and the meeting was initiated by the UK high commission and South African government to ensure the most up-to-date and accurate sharing of information. The UK side expressed its gratitude to SA experts for their willingness to share both data and expertise.

“The insights provided will feed into the next review of UK border measures which is due to take place within the next fortnight,” the statement read.

The issue of vaccine certificates was also discussed.

“The UK side explained that, after some initial pilots, it was now seeking to extend its recognition of vaccine certificates around the world as rapidly as possible.

“The UK expressed its willingness to take forward discussions with the SA government on this matter. The UK and SA governments both support and recognise the importance of vaccination as a way out of the Covid-19 pandemic,” the statement read.

TimesLIVE


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