South Africans will have to wait a while longer to see some leprechauns as the ban on visa-free travel to Ireland has been extended indefinitely…

The announcement was made recently according to the Irish Times, by the country’s Justice Minister, Helen McEntee who says visa restrictions will be in place until they are no longer needed for public health reasons.

Ireland’s move to extend the visa-free ban follows the restriction that was implemented on 27 January for all South African passport holders and was meant to expire on 5 March.

While South Africans have not been banned from travelling to the country, their chances of obtaining a visa are minimal with only entries considered emergency or priority being granted a visa.

New Covid-19 variant has countries worried

South Africa’s 501Y.V2 variant has caused some alarm among nations around the world with a number of countries placing travel bans on South African tourists or grounding flights from South Africa, while it has also been targeted a destination for tourists to avoid.

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Just last week, the Seychelles, which is also visa-free for South Africans, said that their border for tourists around the world would open at the end of March, with the unequivocal exclusion of South Africa. The move was over fears it could harm the island nation’s ability to attract European tourists as South Africa is on the UK’s “red list” along with 33 other countries that will need to undergo a14 day quarantine before entering the country.

Spain has also extended its ban on South Africa.

South Africa has seemingly suffered some reputational damage with the mutated strain as European countries Germany, France, Belgium and Switzerland have also flagged the African country.

The US has blocked travel for any person who had physically been in South Africa 14 days prior to their arrival in the US.

The United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) flag carrier grounded flights to and from South Africa in mid-January due to concerns over the variant, flights are set to resume on 20 but whether or not it will be extended remains to be seen.

Virgin Atlantic has also extended its ban on flights to and from South Africa as well as British Airways who announced the suspension of all South African flights until 16 April.


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