Traffic Lights and Travel Bubbles

November 3, 2020

International travel with traffic lights or travel bubbles… the future of travel in 2021 looks interesting.

As Australia, New Zealand and The Pacific Islands wait and hope for a travel bubble, it is interesting to see how other countries that have Covid in their communities are opening their economies to international travellers with the dubbed traffic light system.

South Africa, for example, recently introduced their traffic light system to open their borders to students, volunteers and travellers. Our partners in South Africa are excited to be opening up again and our international agents that would otherwise send students to us in Canada, Australia and New Zealand are happy to have alternative destinations to promote.

But what does it mean this red, orange and green? And what does it mean for those in bubbles?

The Traffic light system in South Africa operates based on individual countries risk levels in comparison to South Africa. Red is high-risk meaning higher rates of Covid than they have, so their citizens cannot enter South Africa unless they go through another country with less risk for 10 days beforehand. All other countries are considered medium-risk “orange light” (have similar rates of Covid to them), or low-risk “green light” (have lower rates of Covid).

Orange and Green countries may enter South Africa so long as they have a negative PCR test not longer than 72 hours old, undertake screening at the airport, download the Covid-Tracing App and pass general entry requirements. If they test positive or show symptoms of Covid they must quarantine for 14 nights at their own cost.

At present high risk countries include Argentina, Bangladesh Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Italy, Mexico, the Netherlands, Peru, Philippines, Russia, Spain, United Kingdom and USA. This list is updated every 2 weeks.

This seems like a good balance for South Africa, given they have community transmission, believe they have the beds available for larger Covid outbreaks, yet urgently need to resurrect the economy.

But what does this means for travel everywhere else?

Will it mean all the countries with some level of Covid will now navigate the world via traffic lights and detours to get to their destination and that will become the norm?

And what about those in Australia and New Zealand where Covid is all but eliminated? Will we stay in Bubbles with each other while the r

Most people in Covid free countries are likely to say they prefer bubbles and await the vaccine or better testing or greatly enlarged isolations facilities…But there are 200+ countries looking at traffic lights and only a handful with the opportunity to travel in bubbles..

Interesting times – But signs of life, both for those in bubbles and those that that are not.

Have fun & keep exploring,

The Internex Team