South Africa‘s government has lifted all COVID-19 restrictions, including indoor mask mandates, limiting the size of gatherings and port of entry vaccination requirements. The move comes as the limited fifth wave of the virus was dissipating within the country. 

The announcement was made by South Africa’s health minister, Joe Phaahla, in the Government Gazette on Wednesday, June 23, 2022. In the statement, Phaahla noted the recent decline in daily COVID-19 cases, positivity rates, hospitalizations and reported deaths.  

In a press statement, South Africa Tourism applauded the repeal of the restrictions and mandates, calling it “a step in the right direction” and “the necessary shot in the arm for the tourism sector.” Two years prior to the global COVID-19 outbreak, the travel and tourism industry contributed 1.5 million jobs and R425.8bn to South Africa’s economy, and represented 8.6% of all economic activity in the country. Tourism plays a big part in the country’s economic reconstruction and recovery plan and South African Tourism is aiding the recovery by working towards easier visa facilitation, better airlift and increased value for money for travelers.  

“It’s time to step into a brave new world”, said South African Tourism ACEO, Themba Khumalo, in a press statement.  

Thailand Eases Restrictions

Meanwhile, Thailand is dropping requirements on wearing face masks in public as well as the need for a “Thailand Pass”, which requires foreign travelers to show proof of vaccination and a health insurance policy with coverage of at least $10,000 before entering the country. From July 1, 2022, vaccinated travelers will only need to show proof of their vaccination status to enter. Unvaccinated tourists will still need to show a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of arrival.

The move follows Cambodia and Singapore dropping their outdoor mask mandates.

For more information on South Africa, visit sacoronavirus.co.za.

For more information on Thailand, visit tatnews.org.