On 22 December 2020, the U.S. Consulate in Johannesburg issued a Health/Travel Alert, which reads in part as follows:

“Event: A new variant of the COVID-19 virus, known as 501.V2, is driving infection rates in areas of South Africa. This discovery is gaining increased international attention and currently as many as 15 countries [including Ecuador, El Salvador, Germany, Panama, Switzerland, Tunisia and Turkey] have banned flights and travelers who have spent time in The Republic of South Africa in the last 10 days.

“Actions to Take:

  • Travelers should consult with their airlines to inquire about potential flight cancellations and rerouting
  • Check destination and transit countries’ rules and regulations regarding traveling from South Africa
  • Exercise increased hygiene measures and social distancing in South Africa, especially in areas where COVID case numbers are increasing.
  • Visit South Africa’s COVID information and resource portal, https://sacoronavirus.co.za, for additional information
  • Monitor local and international media for continuing developments.”