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SA lifts Covid-19 state of disaster restrictions

AFRICAN MIRROR REPORTER

LOW Covid-19 infections, few deaths and admissions to hospitals were some of the reasons behind the South African government’s decision to end the state of disaster of 750 days.

The government imposed it on March 15, 2020 in response to the outbreak of Covid-19 which has killed close to 100 000 South Africans and infected millions.

SA President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that the state of disaster will be replaced by soon-to-be-promulgated health regulations.

He said: “The end of the National State of Disaster also means that the Coronavirus Alert Levels will no longer apply. The few transitional measures that remain are limited in scope, and allow almost all social and economic activity to resume as normal.”

Ramaphosa said few transitional measures would remain in place for 30 days to assist the country in the adjustment from the restrictions imposed under the state of disaster.

The measure that remain in place for 30 days are:

  • The wearing of masks indoors.
  • The restrictions on gatherings remain. This means that both indoor and outdoor venues can take up to 50 percent of their capacity without any maximum limit, provided that proof of vaccination or a COVID test not older than 72 hours is required for entrance to the venue. Where there is no provision for proof of vaccination or a COVID test, then the current upper limit of 1,000 people indoors and 2,000 people outdoors will remain.
  • The existing provisions with respect to international travel remain in place. This means that travelers entering South Africa will need to show proof of vaccination or a negative PCR test not older than 72 hours. If a traveler does not submit a vaccine certificate or proof of a negative COVID-19 test, they will be required to do an antigen test on arrival. If they test positive for COVID-19, they will need to isolate for 10 days..
  • The payment of the special R350 Social Relief of Distress Grant will remain in place.
  • The extension of the validity of a learner’s licence, driving licence card, licence disc, professional driving permit and registration of a motor vehicle will remain in place.
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Ramaphosa said: “As I have explained, these are transitional measures which will lapse after 30 days. This will allow the management of the pandemic to be dealt with, as appropriate, by the Health Regulations or other provisions.”

The SA President announced that all other disaster regulations will be repealed.

These include regulations on isolation of persons, on schools and access to old age homes, on public transport, on initiation practices, on cargo transportation, and on criminalisation of non-adherence to these rules.

Ramaphosa said: “The end of the National State of Disaster also means that the Coronavirus Alert Levels will no longer apply.  The few transitional measures that remain are limited in scope, and allow almost all social and economic activity to resume as normal. They are essential to reduce the risk of a further COVID-19 wave and further disaster.

“They also ensure that people can continue to receive their special R350 Social Relief of Distress Grant and that there is no interruption regarding drivers’ licences. As I have explained, these are transitional measures which will lapse after 30 days.

“This will allow the management of the pandemic to be dealt with, as appropriate, by the Health Regulations or other provisions. There is one last measure that will outlive the National State of Disaster. This is the COVID-19 Vaccine Injury No-Fault Compensation Scheme.

“This Scheme was brought into force in April last year to provide quick and easy access to compensation to any person who suffers a serious injury because of receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. The COVID-19 Vaccine Injury No-Fault Compensation Scheme, which is administered by the Department of Health, will continue after the National State of Disaster ends. The Scheme will only be terminated once it has achieved its purpose.

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By The African Mirror

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