Newsletter: The effects of lock down in Africa- Covid19

One thing we have learnt about the Coronavirus over the last 3 months, is that it does not discriminate and does not respect borders.  While one can only hope that everything returns ‘normal’ as soon as possible, several restrictions have been put into place globally to curb the spread of infection.’

As the bulk of our industry’s business is relies on global mobility, the Covid19 Crisis has had a knock-on effect on some business models, particularly in Africa. We have compiled a list of the current travel restrictions across the African continent for ease of reference. 


They implemented a lockdown on the 27th of March until the 16th of April. They currently have 19 confirmed cases of Covid19. There have been no further updates on whether the lock down will be extended, however, as we speak there a no passenger flights to and from Angola and the department of Immigration is currently closed. Please note that if one’s visa expires during this time, there will be no penalties for overstaying your visa. 


They have implemented a very strict lockdown whereby the president has endorsed a 6-month state of emergency.  This does not imply that the country will be locked down for the entire 6 months, they will take it on a week to week basis.  As of the 25th March they have suspended all commercial flights in and out of the country and have closed the land/road borders. Only Residents and Citizens will be allowed to travel. The department is still processing visa; however, they are only processing emergency visas for those who are already in Botswana who needs to extend their stay. They are not accepting any new applications for now. Their extreme lockdown is to end on the 28th of April. 


As of now, a lock down has not been implemented. The authorities in Cameroon state that there is no need for restrictions as they only have 56 cases of Corona.  We have contacted the Cameroonian High Commission in South Africa and they said they are only accepting visa applications for emergency purposes only. 


They were one of the first African countries to implement a lockdown and it has been extended for an additional 2 weeks and they have closed their borders to all incoming travellers.  They are therefore no longer issuing visas to Ghana until the lockdown is relaxed. 


On the 25th of March, Kenya suspended all international flights in and out of the country as well as travelling by road and rail.  They have extended the lockdown for an additional 3 weeks in Nairobi and Mombasa and the Immigration department is currently closed. 


They have extended their lockdown until the 5th of May 2020.  They have taken a harsher stance as they have prohibited both foreigners and citizens from entering the country during this time. 

No new visa applications are being accepted until the 5th of May, assuming the lockdown is not extended. 


They only announced a lock down strategy yesterday, as they were one of the last African countries to confirm their first case of Covid19. The lockdown will start at Midnight on the 18th of April and will be in place for 21 days. They are only allowing essential services to operate and therefore, no new visa applications will be processed until advised. There has not been much information regarding the rules on travel, suffice to say the president has indicated that Security Personnel will be placed at the border posts for the duration of the lockdown. 


President Buhari announced a 14- day lockdown extension in the following states: Lagos, Abuja and Ogun. Nigeria only has essential services running and all travel has been suspended. Initially, they only banned travellers from 13 countries, however, the ban now extends to all countries.

South Africa

South Africa’s lockdown has been extended until the end of April. According the National Council of Infectious diseases (NCID), the lockdown needs to be extended beyond the initial extension to flatten the curve of infection. While a 3rd Extension is probable, the government is in talks with various stakeholders to get the economy going again and that would mean that certain industries would have to reopen. The Immigration department has closed all the borders. They are not accepting any new visa applications for the foreseeable future. 


President Lungu announced that the entire country will not go on lockdown as the citizens will not survive the economic hardship. They only ordered a completed lockdown on one district- Kafue. Zambia has only advised its residents to stay indoors and to avoid unnecessary travel if possible. They have not restricted any national flights and their immigration department has not issued any visa statements. While they have not restricted International flights, logistically it may be challenging to source a flight as other countries have grounded their aircraft. 

It is important to note, that after the lockdowns, visa regimes are likely to become more stringent with additional health checks at border posts and a possibility of embassies requesting proof that the applicant does not have Covid19. One should also plan for the possibility of a 14-day quarantine upon arrival in any countries that previously allowed free movement. Stay safe and take care! If you have any queries or concerns, please contact us on