Following the emergence of a new Covid variant (Omicron B.1.1.529) in Botswana and South Africa last week, Southern Africa's air connectivity has been decimated after various countries around the world restricted access to travellers arriving from the two countries as well as Angola, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique, Lesotho, Eswatini, and Namibia.

Among the countries that have so far imposed travel restrictions on either the entire group or select members include:

  • Australia,
  • Austria,
  • Bahrain,
  • Croatia,
  • Czechia,
  • Canada,
  • Cyprus;
  • Denmark,
  • Egypt;
  • France,
  • Germany,
  • Hong Kong,
  • India,
  • Ireland,
  • Israel,
  • Italy,
  • Japan,
  • Kuwait,
  • Malaysia,
  • Mauritius,
  • Morocco,
  • The Netherlands,
  • Philippines,
  • Portugal;
  • Qatar,
  • Saudi Arabia (has also embargoed commercial passenger flights from Madagascar, Seychelles, Mauritius, and Comoros),
  • Seychelles,
  • Singapore,
  • Spain,
  • Turkey,
  • the United Arab Emirates,
  • the United Kingdom, and
  • the United States.

In turn, given these restrictions, the following airlines have said they will suspend flights to some or all of the countries in question from November 28/29 onwards. As such, only their citizens and permanent residents will be allowed on flights returning home for the brief duration they will still be offered.

US carriers Delta Air Lines and United Airlines have said they will also maintain their respective services to South Africa.

At the time of going to press, Ethiopian Airlines and Kenya Airways were still maintaining regular service to each of the ten affected countries while flights within the grouping were also still active. However, TAAG Angola Airlines has said it is suspending its flights to South Africa (Cape Town and Johannesburg O.R. Tambo) as well as Namibia (Windhoek Int'l) and Mozambique (Maputo) from November 28 until December 3.

Editorial Comment: Added Switzerland to the list of countries. - 29.11.2021 - 05:40 UTC