UK keeping SA on travel red list uncalled for - Lord Peter Hain

This regards the travel restrictions for tourists who wish to visit South Africa or locals hoping to visit the UK.

FILE: This file photo taken 24 January 2008 shows British politician Peter Hain in central London. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG - Former British MP and anti-apartheid activist, Lord Peter Hain, believes that the United Kingdom's decision to keep South Africa on the travel red list is preposterous and uncalled for.

Hain wrote a letter to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, which landed on his desk just before Johnson had a telephone call from President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday.

This regards the travel restrictions for tourists who wish to visit South Africa or locals hoping to visit the UK.

On Thursday night, Ramaphosa also announced that the country would be rolling out vaccination certificates soon, which would help convince the UK to remove the country from the red list.

The UK is South Africa's biggest source of tourism from the northern hemisphere and a significant trading partner and keeping the country on the red list could not have come at a worse time.

Lord Hain said that the UK's decision to keep South Africa on the red list while other countries with higher COVID-19 active cases had been removed was absurd.

"I don't understand why the British government didn't look at the science before making that very important decision a month ago. There are smoke signals coming from 10 Downing Street that maybe this is being reconsidered," Hain said.

President Ramaphosa received a call from Johnson on Thursday, just hours before he addressed the nation in his televised briefing moving the country to lockdown level one.

Ramaphosa said that it seemed to him that Johnson understood why South Africa was concerned about this travel ban.

The UK will review its list in the coming days.

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