Dear Swedes in South Africa,
We are currently living through turbulent times as the Corona virus is ravaging the world. South Africa has now also been seriously hit and the number of people infected by the virus is increasing every day. As you may have seen, a national lockdown will enter into force from midnight 26 March. This means you are only allowed to leave your home or accommodation in order to buy food and medicine, and to go for a doctor’s appointment. On 25 March, it was announced by the Government of South Africa, that all air traffic, both domestic and in and out of the country will be cancelled from midnight 26 March until and including 16 April. The land borders and seaports will also be closed for travel.
I understand that these decisions are difficult for many and a cause for concern for all those who are visiting South Africa and may have planned to leave the country in the near future. Unfortunately, I believe we will have to prepare for this situation to last for a while. South Africa has the right to take those measures that are deemed necessary to stop the spread of the Corona virus and I take this opportunity to ask everyone to follow the rules announced by the authorities.
My advice is to also get in touch with your airline/travel agency to ensure that you have a flight as soon as the lockdown ends, and also to speak to your travel agency or travel insurance provider about what support they can offer in this extraordinary situation.
As far as we are aware, hotel and guest houses with foreign guests staying in their facilities have been instructed not to make them leave, but to let them stay until they can safely return to their home countries. In an interview the Minister of Home Affairs has stated that no punitive action will be taken against people who overstay their visas during the lockdown, and that the situation will have to sorted out after the lockdown.
My colleagues and myself are continuing to make every effort to find out more about the situation during the lockdown. We are in close contact with our Nordic colleagues as well as the EU group to see how we best can support our citizens. I ask all to follow our website (https://www.swedenabroad.se/en/embassies/south-africa-pretoria/), our Facebook page (Embassy of Sweden in Pretoria), Instagram and Twitter (@SwedeninSA and @AmbassadorJulin).
Please do also register on the list of Swedes present in South Africa, either by downloading the app UD Resklar (please activate push notifications) or sign up on the website (www.swedenabroad.se/sv/svensklistan).
The Embassy remains open as well as the switchboard (+27 12 4266400) and we will receive your calls at 9:00-12:00 and 13:00-15:00. You can also email us (firstname.lastname@example.org) and after hours you can contact the Ministry for Foreign Affairs duty officer (+4684055005). The Ministry has instated a number specifically for Corona and travel-related questions (+4684059200).
With some patience and shared understanding we will get through this!