South Africa begins dismantling State of Disaster

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The South African government has begun amending the country’s health regulations so that they may be used to manage its response to the pandemic.

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that the process had started during his address to the nation on Sunday evening.

This was so the government could review the use of the Disaster Management Act to manage South Africa’s response to the pandemic, to ultimately lift the National State of Disaster.

Ramaphosa’s address came as South Africa saw a surge in Covid–19 cases during the past week following the identification of the new omicron variant.

He also announced that the government had established a task team to investigate making vaccinations mandatory for specific activities and locations.

No additional lockdown restrictions were announced, with Ramaphosa saying the government took into account that vaccines were not as widely available during the third wave, and fewer people were vaccinated.

“We know that [vaccines] prevent severe disease and hospitalisation. We also know that the coronavirus will be with us for the long term,” Ramaphosa stated.

“We must therefore find ways of managing the pandemic while limiting disruptions to the economy and ensuring continuity.”

However, he warned that this approach would not be sustainable if the vaccination rate doesn’t increase, if people don’t wear masks, and if we fail to adhere to basic health precautions.

The following key restrictions remain in effect:

  • Curfew from midnight to 04:00.
  • Indoor gatherings limited to 750 people.
  • Outdoor gatherings limited to 2,000 people.
  • Where venues are too small to accommodate the maximum numbers for gatherings with appropriate social distancing, then no more than 50% of the capacity of the venue may be used.
  • No more than 100 people are permitted at a funeral, and night vigils, after-funeral gatherings and “after-tears” gatherings are not allowed.
  • Wearing masks in public places is mandatory, and failure to wear one when required is a criminal offence.
  • Alcohol sales are permitted according to the regular licence conditions.

“We will also implement our national resurgence plan to ensure that hospitals and other medical facilities are ready for the fourth wave,” Ramaphosa said.

“We are focusing on effective clinical governance, contact tracing and screening, effective clinical care, availability of health personnel.”

Ramaphosa said that to ensure facilities are ready, all hospital beds that were available or required during the third wave of Covid–19 are planned and prepared for the fourth wave.

“We are also working to ensure that oxygen supply is available to all beds earmarked for Covid–19 care.”


Now read: South Africa considering mandatory Covid–19 vaccinations

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