South Africa’s Covid-19 vaccine rollout hasn’t exactly been the world’s fastest or smoothest and phase two of the project is only set to commence next week, with those over 60 to be vaccinated.
For the rest of the country hoping to get on with their lives without fear, there are two options. Wait until your turn is finally announced several months from now, or turn your vaccine experience into a holiday.
This is obviously not available to everyone, but those with time and money to travel do have options how and where they get vaccinated against Covid-19. Some countries have embraced vaccine tourism as a way to help their economies from recover the effects of the pandemic, offering some special trips for those hoping to get the jab while on holiday.
USA, Israel, Vietnam and the United Arab Emirates are among the countries which have banned or restricted travelers from South Africa since the discovery of the Covid-19 strain 501Y.V2. SA has been flagged a risk by many European Union countries including Belgium, France, Germany and Switzerland.
Graphic: Costa Mokola
But there are some countries The Citizen has found that allow you to enter and pay for a vaccination.
A return flight to Zimbabwe from South Africa can cost you R3,509 – R4,319, or you can make a road trip of it if you are willing to brave the border posts.
Zimbabwe’s tourism sector is estimated to have lost $1bn in revenue last year due to the coronavirus pandemic, so the government-approved initiative of vaccinating tourists at a cost could see some revival in this sector.
Last week, President Emmerson Mnangagwa told journalists while Zimbabweans get vaccinated for free, foreigners can get the vaccine at a cost.
Zimbabwe reopened its international airports and land borders to tourists in addition to Zimbabwean nationals and valid residence permit holders on 1 December 2020.
Also Read: Zimbabwe beats SA to the vaccine jab
As a tourist you must produce a negative Covid-19 test result issued no more than 48 hours before arrival at the border. You will be denied entry if you do not produce a negative test result or if you exhibit Covid-19 like symptoms on arrival. In this case you may be detained at a holding facility where you will be required to pay US$60 for a test.
Travelers will be subjected to a 14-day quarantine period. Self isolation is an option if you arrive with a negative Covid-19 test issued within 48 hours of arrival, or test negative at the airport.
If you test positive for Covid-19 at the airport, you will be detained at a place of isolation for 14 days. You have to complete track and trace information on arrival in Zimbabwe.
Another country attempting to boost its tourism sector by offering vaccines is the island nation of the Maldives.
The south Asian country recently announced plans to offer tourists the Covid-19 vaccine. Maldivian Tourism Minister Abdulla Mausoom told CNBC the initiative, dubbed the 3V plan (Visit, Vaccinate, Vacation), was designed as an incentive for tourists to visit the country.
A single Qatar Airways flight leaving next week from OR Tambo International Airport costs R8,252, but if you want to make an event of it, you can opt to fly business class for a cool R34,617.
Inbound travelers, with the exception of children under one year, have to produce a PCR negative result with a sample taken 96 hours prior to their departure for the Maldives, including those who are vaccinated.
PCR negative test results must be attached to the online Traveler Health Declaration (THD) form which has to be submitted within 24 hours prior to departure.
A flight to Havana, Cuba costs upward of R14,821. As a tourist, A PCR test will be administered on arrival and you’ll be transferred to a designated centre similar to a hotel. A second PCR test will be taken on day 5 of isolation and isolation is required until the second result is confirmed.
If you test positive, you have to follow the instructions of the health officials. All testing and quarantine costs will be at the traveler’s cost.
Proof of a negative PCR test, taken within 72 hours prior to departure is required in order to be allowed into the country, along with a completed declaration of health.
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