No More Taverns, No More Partying: Mbalula

There will be no honeymoon and no partying.

So said transport minister Fikile Mbalula, referring to people planning cruises from South Africa in the near future.

“No more taverns, no more partying. We love these things and we love this life but things have to change,” said Mbalula.

He was one of the ministers addressing a press briefing on Wednesday at OR Tambo International Airport on border closures being implemented by the South African government to curb the spread of Covid-19.

He noted passengers arriving by air from “banned” countries would be stopped, and that around 1 700 passengers on a cruise ship – ironically named the MV Corona – were refused permission to dock in Cape Town.

The government has also announced heightened travel restrictions. These include the closure 35 of 53 land ports. Beit Bridge is, however, one which will remain open as a vital link with Zimbabwe.

Other arrangements include the department revoking visas issued and revisiting conditions for travellers from previously visa-exempt countries, including the UK.

The recent travel history of those who wish to visit the country will be checked and they will need to undergo a coronavirus test as part of their visa application.

Public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan spoke of the difficulty of international travel and arrangements for repatriation which will run into next week for South Africans who are abroad wishing to return home, as well as those here wanting to return to their home countries.

Mbalula said they would also meet the Passenger Rail Agency of SA, among others, to discuss their plans to curb Covid-19.

“We will be meeting with all the interested parties because transport is an ongoing thing,” he indicated.

Meanwhile, InterCape buses have implemented the scanning of passengers’ temperatures before boarding their buses. This has been implemented around the country.

Johannesburg Park Stations InterCape supervisor Siyabulela Sibulawa said, “We care about our passengers’ well-being… Since we are all aware of coronavirus, we wanted to ensure that our passengers and staff will be safe nationwide. The company gave us gloves, sanitisers and the infra-red forehead thermometer to ensure we are safe.

“Every passenger and driver’s temperature is checked before boarding. If a person’s temperature is below 37.5 degrees, they are considered safe to travel, and should their temperature be 38 degrees and above, they are taken to the office, given a full refund and advised to see a doctor. We are not saying they have the virus, but they are not safe to travel with us.”

The intercity service provider has seen an increase in sales since implementing this.

France Ramoganyaka, fleet manager said, “This has made passengers less anxious about travelling. I explain to them the need for us to check their temperatures and inform them of the importance of practising the necessary safe hygiene steps, like sanitising their hands on the bus.” -IOL