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Ramaphosa to tell nation about plan to replace State of Disaster with new set of Covid-19 health regulations in coming days

PRESIDENT Cyril Ramaphosa.

PRESIDENT Cyril Ramaphosa.

Published Mar 18, 2022


PRESIDENT Cyril Ramaphosa will address the nation in the coming days regarding the new Covid-19 health regulations that are set to replace the lockdown regulations under the State of Disaster.

Responding to questions in the National Assembly on Thursday, he said he is consulting leaders from different sectors of society on the matter.

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“We have met with traditional leaders; we have met with various other leaders, as well as religious leaders and we are talking precisely about this. I can assure you again, we are going to lift the State of Disaster and we are going to put in place health regulations – regulations that will enable everyone to feel safe but at the same time, we want to boost vaccination,” he said.

Earlier this week, the Department of Health published the proposed new health regulations to deal with Covid-19 and other notifiable medical conditions.

The public have been invited to submit their comments on the proposed regulations by Friday April 15.

“This is part of the government’s transition plans from the current National State of Disaster which has been in place more than two years since it was first declared in response to Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020, in order to have a specific legal instrument to manage the current and future pandemics,” said the department.

The new regulations introduce a number of control measures, including the surveillance and the control of notifiable medical conditions, public health measures in points of entry, management of human remains, and regulations relating to environmental health.

Director and head of the School of Public Health & Family Medicine at the University of Cape Town, Professor Landon Myer, says public participation in policymaking was a standard practice.

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“These draft regulations are mostly the regularisation of things that are already taking place. I don’t think there is anything massively new or onerous for the general population,” he said.

One of the changes in the regulations is that travellers entering or exiting South Africa will need to present a negative PRC test result only if they are unvaccinated.

The proposed regulations also state that night vigils and after-funeral gatherings are restricted. Indoor and outdoor gatherings may occupy up to 50% of the venue capacity provided there is production of a valid vaccine certificate.

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The attendance of indoor gatherings without proof of vaccination will be limited to only 1 000 people and 2 000 for outdoors with social distancing of at 1m metre social distance.

“I think the limits on gatherings is difficult to understand – how they arrived at 1 000 and 2 000 inside and outside, respectively, without proof of vaccination. I would have thought that without proof of vaccination the levels should be much lower, especially inside.

“Outside and with vaccination, I wonder if 2 000 is unnecessarily stringent,” said Myer

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Public who wish to comment on the proposed new regulations can email Ms Funeka Bongweni: [email protected]