Yellow fever confusion persists at OR Tambo
20 Fri, Feb 2015
Despite the South African department of health officially lifting the yellow fever requirement for travel between Zambia and South Africa at the end of January, travellers have reported that immigration officials at OR Tambo, Johannesburg, are still insisting on seeing the certificate.
Andy Hogg, co-founder of the Bushcamp Company in Zambia, explains that upon arrival in South Africa last week, immigration officials at OR Tambo demanded that he show his Yellow Fever certificate before granting him entry into the country. “At least half of the people on my flight were asked to produce the certificate,” says Hogg.
According to Hogg, immigration officials were quite aggressive in their dealings with travellers. He explains that the official, who stopped him upon entry into SA, kept referring to a laminated piece of paper in her cubicle that outlined that travellers from Zambia still needed to have a Yellow Fever certificate. However, she wouldn’t allow Hog to take a picture of the paper. When Hogg asked to speak to a supervisor, the immigration official also refused.
Other safari operators have experienced similar situations with their clients. Ade Coley, Safari Camp owner at Flatdogs Camp, says he has received feedback that travellers are being stopped at the airport with officials requesting the Yellow Fever certificate.
Dr. Lucille Blumberg, Deputy Director at the National Institute for Communicable Diseases, has reacted with shock to the reports. She told Travel Buyer: “This is concerning. It is an issue for port health at the National Department of Health to respond to and manage. Clearly, the messages with regards to the changes have not reached all.”
Spokesperson for the National Department of Health Joe Maila reacted with disbelief to the reports and he assured Travel Buyer he would launch an immediate and thorough investigation into the matter. He added he would ensure that the protocol stipulating that the Yellow Fever certificate was no longer required for travellers from Zambia would be circulated once again with immediate effect.
Travel Buyer was contacted just hours after speaking to Maila by officials from the Department of Health who said they had launched an official investigation into the matter and were requesting additional information on the incidents.
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