Last night, 22 March 2022, saw President Cyril Ramaphosa announce that the Cabinet intends on lifting the national state of disaster that came into effect two years ago.
“We intend to lift the national state of disaster as soon as public comment on the regulations published by the minister of health have been completed. These regulations when finalised, will replace the state of disaster as the legal instrument that we use to manage the pandemic.” were the words of President Ramaphosa as he addressed us, the nation, on government’s fight against the virus.
The country first recorded its first Covid-19 case in March of 2020 which saw us placed under a state of disaster.
Ramaphosa said that, “After four waves of infection, fewer people are becoming ill and there are fewer deaths than before.” He then further mentioned that this was due to a 60-80% societal immunity in South Africa.
In an attempt to reassure South Africans, he said that amidst a persistent pandemic, the South African economy was gradually recovering and going back to normal. He then invited all South Africans to comment on the draft regulations before 16 April 2022.
Proof of vaccination and COVID testing
President Ramaphosa said under the provisional regulations, both indoor and outdoor venues now could take an attendance of 50% of the total occupancy, “provided that the criteria for entrance at those venues is proof of vaccination or a COVID test not older than 72 hours.
“But where there is no provision, for proof of vaccination or a COVID test, then the current upper limit will remain of 1,000 people in doors and 2,000 people outdoors.”
He said the change to the number of people permitted to attend gatherings would be of great benefit to the sporting, entertainment and events industries in particular. “This means that if we are vaccinated or have recently tested negative, we will be able to return to watching sports in our stadiums and attending music concerts and other events.”
Mask are to remain mandatory when in public indoor spaces according to President Ramaphosa. “However, a mask is not required when one is outdoors. This means that we still need to wear masks in facilities like shops, malls, offices, factories, etc.” Making the wearing of masks will walking in public, exercising or attending out gatherings no longer a requirement.
Social distance reduction
Social distances will now be reduced to one meter between any two people regardless of the setting with schools as an exception.
He said the maximum number of people permitted at funerals would go from 100 to 200.
However, night vigils and after tears gatherings are still not permitted.
“Travelers entering South Africa will need to show proof of vaccination or negative PCR test not older than 72 hours. All unvaccinated travelers entering the country who want to be vaccinated will be offered a vaccine,” said Ramaphosa.
These regulations will take effect from 23 March 2022, upon the gazetting of new regulations.
You can read through the entire address here.