Dumb South Africa: COVID: Finally the dumb State of Emergency is over, but Mask wearing is still mandatory

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[The real thing I would like to see going is mask wearing. Mask wearing must surely harm people's health in the long term due to lack of oxygen. It's the one thing I hate. Jan]

President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced that South Africa will lift the state of disaster from 00:00 on Tuesday, 5 April 2022.

In an address to the nation on Monday evening, Ramaphosa emphasised that the state of disaster was necessary to manage the pandemic and its consequences on various industries.

However, he added that the additional powers that a state of disaster provides are temporary and limited and should be maintained only as long as necessary.

Ramaphosa said that because of the drastic downturn in Covid-19 cases and Covid-19-related deaths, and the number of hospital beds available to patients, South Africa would be able to return to normality in public health facilities.

“These conditions no longer require that we remain in a national state of disaster,” Ramaphosa stated.

While government will lift the state of disaster from midnight, Ramaphosa said specific transitional measures would remain for 30 days before automatically lapsing.

Outside of these few exceptions, all existing rules under the state of disaster are repealed.

Cooperative governance minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma gazetted these transitional regulations for public comment last week.

It is important to note they will be separate from the National Health Act regulation amendments that will be used to manage the pandemic once finalised after the public comment period lapses on 16 April.

The table below shows the Covid-19 transitional measures that remain in place until 5 May 2022.

What is allowed

Face masks are mandatory in an indoor public places, excluding children under six.
Schools are exempted from enforcing physical distancing of at least one metre from another person.
Employers may not allow employees to perform any duties or enter business premises if the employee is not wearing a face mask while performing their duties.

What is not allowed

Access to any building, place or premises while not wearing a face mask.

Gatherings and sporting events

What is allowed

Venues may operate at 50% capacity, provided attendees produce a valid vaccination certificate or negative Covid-19 test not older than 72 hours before the event starts.
Gatherings at a workplace for work purposes are allowed, subject to strict adherence to all health protocols and physical distancing.

What is not allowed

Attendees being less than one metre apart.
Gatherings exceeding 1,000 people indoors and 2,000 people outdoors without verifying attendees’ vaccination and Covid-19 status.
Exceeding 50% of venue capacity with all attendees maintaining one-metre physical distancing.

International travel

What is allowed

Travelling to and from South Africa is allowed, subject to Covid-19 restrictions.
All international travellers must present a valid vaccination certificate or negative Covid-19 test no older than 72 hours.
Travelling between South Africa and neighbouring countries is permitted with a vaccination certificate or negative Covid-19 test no older than 72 hours.
Any Covid-19 test recognised by the World Health Organisation is permitted.

What is not allowed

Entering South Africa without a valid vaccination certificate or negative Covid-19 test no older than 72 hours.

The end of the state of disaster comes more than two years after the government first implemented it to help curb the spread of Covid-19.

The initial state of the disaster declaration on 15 March 2020 was valid for three months.

From 15 June 2020, minister Dlamini-Zuma extended it every month. The latest extension was set to end on 15 April 2022.

The state of disaster has allowed the government to introduce sweeping lockdown regulations, some of which were highly controversial.

Mandated mask-wearing in public and workspaces, limits on the number of people allowed at gatherings, travel restrictions, the prohibition of certain types of events, and bans on the sale of alcohol were generally welcomed by health experts.

But many questioned the legal and scientific grounds for early measures like the bans on ecommerce and the sale of cigarettes, hot foods, and certain types of clothing.

In recent months, several health experts, businesses, opposition parties, and civil action organisations have called for the total suspension of the state of disaster and related regulations.

Many argued that the South African health system is now prepared to deal with Covid-19. Others also pointed out that most South Africans now have some form of immunity or resistance to the virus — either through vaccination or infection.

Labour union Solidarity previously said Dlamini-Zuma had assured government would lift the state of disaster on 5 April 2022.

It threatened to continue with its court challenge against the state of disaster, set down for Wednesday, 6 April 2022, if this did not happen.

Source: https://mybroadband.co.za/news/trending/440010-state-of-disaster-lifted-but-these-covid-19-rules-remain-for-now.html

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