Pretoria – The SA Medical Association (Sama) has welcomed the repeal of the Covid-19 regulations by the Minister of Health Dr Joe Phaahla, and noted that there has been a decline in hospitalisation and reported cases of Covid-19 in South Africa.
“Sama welcomes the removal of the regulation measures as they pertain to the wearing of masks indoors, the number of gatherings and international travel entry.
“Sama notes that the virus is still present, though not as prevalent,” said Sama chairperson Dr Mvuyisi Mzukwa.
“Sama members as they are in the forefront of the health system are however faced with patients who may or may not present symptoms of the virus and other viral diseases.”
According to the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD), new cases recorded on 22 June 2022 were 1,087 bringing the total number of laboratory-confirmed cases to 3 987 979.
“This increase represents a 7.8% positivity rate. Additionally, the National Department of Health reported 20 deaths and of these, three deaths occurred in the past 24 to 48 hours. The cumulative Covid-19 deaths are at 101,640 to date,” said Mzukwa.
“The cumulative number of recoveries now stands at 3 872 768, with a recovery rate of 97.1 percent. These numbers clearly demonstrates the extent of the impact of the pandemic.”
He said the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends a ‘No Regret Policy’ when it comes to taking measures to protect patients and healthcare professionals during Covid-19.
“Due to the close proximity between health-care workers, patients and/or patient biological materials, Sama urges its members to continue to observe non-pharmaceutical Covid-19 measures in all health-care settings.
“This includes the continued wearing of face masks and implementation of sanitisation measures for patients and health-care professionals in medical settings,” said Mzukwa.
“The wearing of face masks for patients and health-care workers who are symptomatic should become the norm beyond the health-care facilities.”
Sama maintains that vaccination is still the most powerful weapon that society has against Covid-19.
“So far, 32% of the population (18.9m) are fully vaccinated against Covid-19; thus increased vaccination and observing of Covid-19 regulations in healthcare settings is necessary.”
On Wednesday, Phaahla repealed three regulations including the wearing of masks when in public as well as a regulation on the numbers permitted at a gathering and rules around vaccinations for people entering South Africa.