South Africa Reopens Land Borders as COVID-19 Cases Decline

South Africa has reopened its major land borders with its neighboring countries on Feb. 15 as COVID-19 cases in the country decline.

Following a decision made by the country’s Cabinet, South Africa has reopened at least 20 border posts after closing them last month in an effort to curb the spread of the virus.

Officials of the Department of Home Affairs are set to visit the four busiest land ports of the country “to monitor the implementation of plans to process travelers.” These land ports include the Lebombo Border Post, Beitbridge, Maseru Bridge, and Ficksburg.

According to Home Affairs Minister Arron Motsoaledi, the department has been working with neighboring countries for the past four weeks “to share plans and ensure seamless movement of travelers and goods to minimize the chances of border crossings being super spreader events.”

“The active and orderly management of people through our borders is an important part of the country’s overall risk-adjusted approach to control the spread of COVID-19,” Motsoaledi said in a statement.

Motsoaledi also called for the travels to ensure that they have requisite travel documents, including valid COVID-19 tests, when they present themselves at the borders.

Last January, before the closure of the land borders, immigration offices reported problems, including fake COVID-19 tests.

Motsoaledi said that anyone with a fake COVID-19 test will be banned from visiting South Africa for five years.

The emergence of the South African variant of the virus known as 501Y.V2 prompted some countries to set travel restrictions to and from South Africa, damaging the country’s tourism.

According to the Health Department, South Africa has reported 1,492,909 cases and 48,094 deaths.

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