South Africa says it will on Monday reopen 20 of its land border crossings that were shut last month to try to stop the spread of Covid-19 infections.
The decision was taken at a cabinet meeting on Saturday.
South Africa has been hit hard by a second wave of the outbreak linked to a new variant of the disease.
It has recorded almost 1.5 million infections and more than 47,000 Covid-related deaths – by far the highest toll in Africa.
Globally, more than 108 million cases have been confirmed since the start of the outbreak late in 2019, with nearly 2.3 million deaths, according to America’s Johns Hopkins University.
In other developments:
- Poland confirmed that a strain of coronavirus detected at a mink fur farm in the north of the country could spread to humans, raising prospects of a cull similar to that in Denmark
- China refused to hand over key data to the World Health Organization team investigating the origins of Covid-19, one of its members said
- The pandemic is unlikely to end unless poorer countries get access to vaccines, a group of scientists warned.
What did South Africa’s government say?
On Saturday, the government announced that borders with Zimbabwe, Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, Lesotho, and Eswatini would be opened.
“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,” said Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi.
But the minister warned that all those wanting to cross the borders must produce proof of negative Covid tests taken recently.
Mr. Motsoaledi said he would personally visit the four busiest crossings to observe the processing of travelers.
South Africa shut its borders with neighboring countries on 11 January after the new variant of Covid-19 was detected.
A number of countries have since banned all travel to and from South Africa.