COVID19 – O.R Tambo International Airport (Johannesburg Airport)

No matter where you may find yourself travelling throughout the months ahead, you will be hard-pressed to find a location or destination that does not necessitate your adherence to COVID-19 regulatory requirements and restrictions. And while following some of these rules, regulations and restrictions may feel discouraging at times, they have been put in place to ensure your safety and to manage the spread of the Coronavirus.

O.R Tambo International Airport is Africa’s largest airport and serves as South Africa’s primary airport for domestic and international flights. As a result of this, the airport itself is responsible for the managed movements of about 21 million passengers every year. And while the global pandemic saw a slowing down of travel overall, the airport still sees some 443499 passengers moving through its terminal buildings on a given month. So, it goes without saying that adhering to the COVID-19 regulations at O.R Tambo International Airport is of the utmost importance. Not only because these regulations are mandatory but also because they are put in place for the health and benefit of all passengers and airport staff.

Some of the COVID-19 regulations at O.R Tambo International Airport are more stringent than others. It is important to familiarise yourself with regulations and restrictions that may apply to you. Particularly if you are travelling from outside South Africa’s borders.COVID-19 regulations at O.R Tambo International Airport

Restrictions and Regulations in South Africa and Other Countries

As you travel, restrictions and regulations may differ from country to country or even from one province to another. With the gradual lifting of restrictions on international flights under Alert Level 1, it is important to ensure that you are aware of and comply with regulations put in place by the government. These regulatory requirements include the following:

  • On arrival, you will be required to present a PCR or COVID-19 test certificate recognised by the World Health Organisation, showing a negative test result, obtained no less than 72 hours before departure from the country of origin.
  • Passenger screening for international flights, as well as for those travelling domestically or regionally will take place on arrival at the airport.
  • Quarantine facilities at O.R Tambo International Airport will be made available to all passengers where necessary. However, use of these facilities will be at your own cost.
  • Any passenger affected by flight times and schedules will have to present their flight ticket when stopped by law enforcement during curfew.
  • No eating is permitted on board a domestic flight.
  • Wearing of masks at Johannesburg International Airport is mandatory.

For passengers travelling from South Africa to other countries, it is important that you ensure that you are aware of the requirements of the specific country that you are travelling to. Many countries have stopped accepting international non-essential travel and visa applications. For more information on whether or not you will be able to travel to any particular country or destination, it is advisable to check with that country’s embassy and to make the correct and necessary enquiries.Johannesburg Airport COVID Regulations

There are many other simple ways for you as a passenger to do your part in protecting yourself and others from spreading the Coronavirus while making your way through the terminal buildings. Making sure you wash and sanitize your hands regularly, maintaining social distancing and wearing a mask correctly are some of the easiest ways to play your part.

Frequently Asked Questions About COVID-19 Regulations at O.R Tambo International Airport

Can I get tested at Johannesburg Airport?

Johannesburg Airport Covid testing stations are not available or situated inside the terminal buildings. However, the National Health Laboratory Service is operating three mobile COVID-19 Test Units in clearly identifiable vans located opposite the InterContinental Hotel, in front of the Police Station, on the lower level of the airport complex.

How much does a COVID-19 test cost?

The cost of a COVID-19 test at a National Health Laboratory Service mobile COVID-19 Test Unit is R600.

Is there COVID-19 Screening at O.R Tambo International Airport?

Yes, there will be passenger screening for international flights on arrival as well as exit screening once you have made your way through the terminal building.

How safe is my luggage from contamination?

Baggage sanitation and handling at Johannesburg Airport is a standard practice and Airports Company South Africa adheres to the strictest health and safety protocols. All baggage is fully and properly sanitized and baggage handlers wear complete Personal Protective Equipment.

Will trolleys also be sanitized?

In accordance with the COVID-19 regulations at O.R Tambo International Airport, trolleys will be sanitized after each use. As an added precaution, passengers are encouraged to also use sanitizing wipes and to sanitize their hands before and after making use of a trolley.

Are there isolation facilities at O.R Tambo International Airport?

While there are quarantine facilities at O.R Tambo International airport, they are available at the passenger’s own cost.  There will also be secondary screening and isolation facilities available for passengers displaying symptoms and those whose temperature reading is 38 degrees or higher.

Do I have to wear a mask at the airport?

All passengers must wear a mask while inside the terminal buildings. Passengers who are not wearing a mask will not be permitted into the terminals. Children under the age of 5 years old are not required to wear masks.

Will the airport close if a frontline staff member contracts the virus?

In the case that an airport frontline staff member becomes infected, the airport will activate the Occupational Health Safety protocols stipulated by ACSA regulations.

Can South Africans travel to high-risk countries?

South African citizens who want to travel to high-risk countries will have to first ensure that they will be able to travel to that particular country, following which they will have to adhere to the regulations and requirements of that country.

Do the COVID-19 Regulations at O.R Tambo International Airport apply to all South African airports?

Regulations may differ slightly at any given airport. It is advised that for up-to-date regulations regarding other airports, you visit the ACSA website.



Important website links & Travel Info related to COVID-19:


Details on Refunds for Airline Tickets & Car Hire:


What to expect at airports

Airports around the world have implemented stringent measures to combat Covid-19. This involves the screening of visitors entering the country, which may include thermal testing on all passengers.

Passengers who display symptoms of Covid-19 will be isolated and sent for further testing. Passengers may also be required to complete a questionnaire before landing to assist with the tracing of potentially infected individuals from High Risk countries.

COVID-19 Safety Tips

  • Wash your hands regularly after contact with any person or any surface, alternatively use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Practice social distancing which involves keeping at least a meter distance between yourself and other individuals
  • Especially avoid contact with anyone with a cough or fever
  • Avoid touching your mouth nose or eyes as this will allow the virus to enter you
  • When using masks ensure that they cover your mouth and nose and avoid touching them when on
  • Never reuse disposable masks & ensure you safely dispose of them
  • If you display symptoms such as fever cough or difficulty breathing please seek medical attention immediately & avoid exposure to other

Please note all information in this article is correct at time of publishing and is subject to change without notice.