DA calls for restriction on Indian travelers to South Africa, only repatriation flights should be allowed
The DA calls on government to do the right thing and immediately impose travelling restrictions on travelers from India. This should include the halting of direct and connecting flights from India to South Africa as well as restrictions at sea ports and land borders.
Only repatriation flights should be allowed from India to transport South Africans back home. Repatriation should also be on the strict condition of a mandatory self-quarantine for two weeks or by producing a negative Covid-19 test that was taken after arrival in South Africa, not before leaving.
This call comes in light of India’s battle to combat various variants of the Covid-19 virus, including the dangerous B.1.617.
While Heath Minister Zweli Mkhize yesterday indicated that the variant has not yet been detected in South Africa, there has already been two separate incidents of individuals travelling from India having tested positive for Covid in the last 72 hours.
It would be reckless of the government to only implement measures after this variant may hit our shores. A reactionary approach at this stage would be criminal especially since there has not yet been any real clarity on the severity of B.1.617 and whether current vaccines are effective against the strain.
Further to this, South Africa’s vaccine rollout has been non-existent up until this point. We simply cannot afford to another brutal wave of Covid infections which will cost lives nor anther hard lockdown which will cost livelihoods.
While the DA sympathises with India’s efforts to combat Coronavirus, we have seen how the devastation of the country’s second wave has collapsed the health system. If our authorities don’t act decisively, a possible third wave of infections in South Africa will not only be inevitable but also more deadly than before.