The South African government on Saturday approved essential travel for its nationals who want to return to countries where they are based.
Minister of Home Affairs Aaron Motsoaledi made the announcement following consultations with the Department of International Relations and Cooperation and the National Coronavirus Command Council.
South Africans who wish to leave the country are permitted to depart only for one of the following reasons: work, study, family reunion, taking up permanent residency and receiving medical attention, Motsoaledi said.
South Africa imposed travel restrictions in mid-March as part of the measures put in place to fight COVID-19, only allowing travel between countries under special circumstances.
Under the new policy, South Africans wishing to return to countries where they reside are required to provide necessary documentation. Moreover, if returning by road or connecting via flights, they need to submit permission from each transiting country.
The announcement came amid a surge in confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country.
As of Saturday, South Africa has recorded a total of 21,343 cases, the highest number in Africa, according to Health Minister Zweli Mkhize.
Over the past 24 hours, the country has reported 1,218 cases, the highest single-day surge since March 5.
The number of deaths from COVID-19 has risen to 407, up by 10 from Friday.