The state-owned airline, South African Airways (SAA), announced today the suspension of operations, regionally and internationally, in a continued effort to slow the spread of the deadly Covid-19 virus in the country.
SAA said in a statement, " SAA will immediately suspend all regional and international operations until the end of May in response to a government travel ban aimed at stopping the transmission of the Coronavirus (Covid-19)."
The regulations, gazetted by Transport Minister, Fikile Mbalula, means no flights from high-risk countries including United States, Germany, United Kingdom, will be allowed into South Africa.
However, there are exceptions -
- Disembarkation of returning South African citizens and permanent residents
- Embarkation of departing foreign nationals
- Disembarkation of a declared medical emergency foreign nationals must be approved by port health services; upon landing, the crew from high-risk countries shall be subject to medical screening and quarantined for 21 days.
Additionally, the airline will also suspend flights to its regional destinations:
- Accra (Ghana)
- Lusaka (Zambia)
- Harare (Zimbabwe),
- Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe)
- Mauritius, Windhoek (Namibia)
- Lagos (Nigeria),
- Entebbe (Uganda)
SAA’s high-risk international destinations include New York, Washington DC, Frankfurt and London.
The suspension also includes other countries that have not (yet) been declared high-risk, these include Perth (Australia) and Sao Paolo (Brazil).
This comes after a significant reduction in demand for air travel as a result of various travel bans instituted across the globe.