Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane says she has instructed that tourist attractions across the country be closed following President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement of a national lockdown from midnight on Thursday to curb the spread of COVID-19.

“We are saying to tour operators and tour guides, you have an obligation to be responsible and protect South Africans and tourists themselves,” the Minister said.

Speaking at an inter-ministerial briefing in Pretoria on Tuesday, Kubayi-Ngubane said tourists departing the country will be subjected to testing for Coronavirus at three airports, namely OR Tambo International, Cape Town and Durban, starting from this afternoon.

Kubayi-Ngubane advised that tourists plan for an extra hour at the airport for exit testing.

“We are appealing to tourists who are leaving to make some extra time for you to be able to be processed before you get to immigration, we want to make sure that as a sector we can be seen as responsible and not be seen as people who acted recklessly,” the Minister said.

She appealed to tour operators and tour guides to act responsibly so that there is no incidence where a tourist tests positive for COVID-19 but continues to tour the country.

“We have been able to interact with the sector and we are receiving cooperation,” the Minister said.

International flights to Lanseria Airport will be temporarily suspended.

Further, international travellers who arrived in South Africa after 9 march 2020 from high-risk countries will be confined to their hotels until they have completed a 14-day quarantine.

She said her department will be assisting small businesses in the tourism sector affected by the lockdown.

Under the lockdown, South Africans will be required to stay at home from midnight on Thursday 26 March 2020, until midnight on Thursday 16 April 2020.

Individuals will not be allowed to leave their homes except under strictly controlled circumstances, such as to seek medical care, buy food, medicine and other supplies or to collect social grants.

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