Are Closed borders the way to go? – The W.H.O. says countries should open borders with strict conditions to control virus spread.

Many countries have seen bans put in place for International travel and these have far reaching economic and livelihood repercussions. The general consensus from leaders worldwide was that the initial temporary countrywide lockdowns and closing of airports was a wise move, to be able to get adequate health care in place for the surge in infections expected. This was particularly true for countries where the healthcare infrastructure is lacking. The reality is however, the longer the lockdowns have remained in place and borders closed, millions of people’s livelihoods have been affected, with jobs lost, new stressors arise, families in dire need of income, and other health problems being neglected as a result of Covid-19.

In a bold move the WHO (World Health Organisation) Director General – Mr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreysus, stated at a virtual media briefing on Monday the 27th of July, that the ban on international travel could not and should not continue indefinitely. He said that it is up to each individual country to manage and reduce the spread of Covid-19 within their own capacities. Strict measures would need to be in place such as the wearing of masks and avoidance of crowded areas. He stated “Where these measures are followed, cases go down. Where they are not, cases go up”.

With the CEO of the Tourism Business Council of South Africa, Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa, agreeing with the WHO DG’s statement, this is a positive move for Tourism in Southern Africa. In Travel News media he said, “We need to get on with business. We, as South African government, should definitely take the lead and announce the date for international inbound flights coming into South Africa so that we can get our work going.”

Many Southern Africans are hopeful that once SA borders and airports are open to International travel, the region will experience an upsurge in Travel and Tourism to the area once more. Albeit with new hygienic and safety measures in place.

VF24 Editing Team – KG