VACorps Program COVID-19 New & Updates
(Last Updated: September 17th, 2021)
VACorps reopened our program to in-country internship participation on the 13th of January, 2021. You can view our latest program activities on the VACorps Instagram page. Inbound travel to South Africa is subject to a number of restrictions, namely:
- A negative COVID-19 PCR test not older than 72 hours from the time of departure from the country of origin. The negative test results must be confirmed by a doctor.
- Mandatory travel insurance.
- Symptom screening upon arrival.
NOTE: There is no quarantine requirement if you travel with a negative PCR test.
Current COVID 19 infection rates in South Africa
As of September 17th, 2021, the current 7-day national moving average is 4,339 new cases per day (South Africa has a population of 60 million people) or 7 cases per 100,000. South Africa’s “first wave” COVID-19 infection rate peaked in late July 2020 at a rate of 14,000 new cases per day and its “second wave” infection rate peaked in early January 2021 at an average of 19,000 new cases per day. Its “third wave” peaked on July 8th, 2021 at a rate of 19,950 new cases per day. South Africa has had a total of 2,873,415 confirmed infections and 85,779 deaths since the start of the global pandemic.
There are currently 6,028 active COVID cases in the Western Cape Province (pop. 7 million) the province where Cape Town is located. To see our current curve and infection rates, click here.
Current domestic restrictions in South Africa
- South Africa is currently on Level 2 of lockdown restrictions.
- There is a national curfew in place from 11 PM – 4 AM.
- Restaurants are open for sit-down meals but cannot exceed a capacity of 100 people.
- Gatherings of 100 people indoors and 250 people outdoors are permitted.
- Wearing a mask in public is compulsory in public spaces. It is a criminal offense not to be wearing a mask in public.
- All businesses and office spaces are allowed to operate subject to social distancing rules.
NOTE: The South African government announced that it would not implement any further “hard lockdowns”, so future participants will not be subject to “shelter-in-place” style lockdowns that have been implemented in various countries in Europe.
Information about the COVID-19 variant in South Africa
In early December 2020, South African scientists discovered a new variant of COVID-19, B.1.351, which dominated our second wave late last year. Researchers are continuing to study the new strain, which is more infectious than the original strain, but there is no evidence to suggest that the new variant poses any greater health risk than previous strains of the virus. Similar mutations have been found in a variety of countries across the globe.
Living in South Africa in the COVID-19 world
Like most countries in the world, South Africa has been hard-hit by the COVID -19 pandemic. Our government has been applauded by the WHO for its management of the pandemic but aside from the direct effects of getting sick, many people and businesses have experienced great economic hardship as a result of our first hard lockdown, which was one of the strictest and longest in the world.
Although our economy and borders are completely open, citizens are still very cautious and concerned about contracting and spreading the virus. As a result of the strong and coordinated measures taken by our government from the very beginning of the pandemic, the general population is very good at following COVID-related laws and restrictions, which is most likely why our infection and death rates have remained substantially lower than experts had forecast back in March of 2020.
As a visitor to Cape Town, your movements will be mostly unrestricted but you will be expected to wear your mask at all times while out in public, avoid indoor gatherings, and take all necessary precautions should you show any symptoms, or are knowingly exposed to the virus.
Luckily, South Africa has a mild climate and astonishing natural beauty, which means we have even more of an excuse to spend time outdoors! When not working at your internship, some very popular outdoor activities include hiking in the national park, trail running, surfing, SCUBA diving, going to the beach, and wine tasting at South Africa’s many wine estates.
VACorps COVID-19 Safety Protocols
VACorps has designed and implemented a number of COVID 19 health and safety protocols designed to keep our program participants, staff, placement sites, and the general public safe. For details please see our website, or click here.