27 April 2021
Dear Minister of Health
Honourable Dr Zweli Mkhize
RE: International travel restrictions and surge in Covid infections
The explosion of Covid infections internationally and in India and Brazil in particular, with new variants of the Covid19 virus, coupled with our delayed vaccination program, poses a clear and present danger to the wellbeing of South Africans. Many countries have stopped incoming travelling from India, Brazil and other red line countries altogether, or have instituted mandatory 14-day quarantine in designated areas for incoming
Presently travellers coming from India, and other red line countries, on presentation of a negative Covid test at point of entry into South Africa, can immediately travel freely all over our country without any isolation period.
We appeal to you to institute immediate restrictions on travel from all red line countries for those who need to come home from these countries or for foreigners who have urgent business in South Africa to have imposed on them a mandatory 14-day isolation period, at their own costs, as is practiced all over the world.
We do believe, however, that owing to difficulties in monitoring quarantine as well as cost associated with such an exercise, a total ban on all incoming travel from passengers from India and Brazil be implemented on a 14-day review basis.
Our heartfelt concern goes out to the people of India and Brazil at this time and we encourage all measures for humanitarian and logistical support, which we know that our government would be offering without question.
It is absolutely imperative to have a balanced approach in reducing and mitigating the risk of the spread of the Indian Variant of the Covid19 virus while we rollout our vaccine programme. South Africa is at great risk of a third wave and we need to ensure that any and all external factors are controlled to minimise the risk. Our country’s experience with both the first and second wave has taught us that we must ensure every measure is taken to prevent and guard against any risk posed that would trigger and/or maintain a third wave with multiple variants.
It is heart-breaking to see people struggling for hospital access, oxygen shortages, mass cremations and burials and we need to ensure that a similar scenario does not unfold in our country.
We pray for the safety of all the people of the world and all those who have lost loved ones during this pandemic.
Dr Yakub Moosa Essack [President]
Of the National Executive Committee of the
Islamic Medical Association of South Africa [IMASA]
& the IMASA Media Desk
Dr Faisal Suleman
SAMNET [South Africa Muslim Network