South Africa ends Covid restrictions including mask wearing
South Africa has ended Covid restrictions including the wearing of face masks.
Health Minister Joe Phaahla published a Government Gazette notice on Wednesday repealing the country’s Covid-19 regulations.
These include the wearing of masks, restrictions on gathering sizes and border controls for Covid-19. Phaahla earlier this week suggested the restrictions be lifted following a drop in hospitalizations and reported cases.
An announcement regarding the regulations was not expected until later this week after President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Cabinet meeting on Thursday.
“I Mathume Joseph Phaahla, Minister of Health, hereby repeals Regulations 16A, 16B and 16C of the Surveillance and Control of Reportable Medical Conditions Regulations…in their entirety,” the two-paragraph notice reads. .
“The repeal of the regulations concerned will enter into force as soon as they are published in the Official Journal.”
Regulation 16A dealt with the wearing of masks, 16B contained the regulations on gatherings and 16C were the regulations for international travelers entering South Africa.
The minister said his department was working with the National Institute of Communicable Diseases to monitor the outbreak. By mid-June, critical indicators showed:
- Reported cases have decreased
- Hospitalizations have decreased
- The effective reproduction rate of the virus has fallen to less than 0.7%
- The positivity rate has fallen, although the number of tests carried out is also low
- Reported deaths have decreased
For these reasons, Phaahla said the national health ministry planned to recommend to cabinet that the regulations be repealed.
South Africa recorded 1,087 new cases of Covid-19 on Tuesday bringing the total number of lab-confirmed cases to 3,987,979.
The increase represents a positivity rate of 7.8%, the National Institute of Communicable Diseases said.
In addition, the National Health Department has reported 20 deaths and of these, three deaths have occurred in the past 24 to 48 hours.
Cumulative deaths from Covid-19 are at 101,640 so far. The cumulative number of recoveries now stands at 3,872,768, with a recovery rate of 97.1%.
President Cyril Ramaphosa on Wednesday (June 22) called on the BRICS to support the African Union’s drive to ensure that vaccines for African countries are purchased from African manufacturers.
The president delivered a pre-recorded message at the opening ceremony of the BRICS Business Forum ahead of the virtual 14th BRICS Leaders Summit on Thursday and Friday.
Although the global economic recovery is underway, President Ramaphosa stressed that the situation remains fragile and the recovery itself is uneven.
He said developing economies continue to face challenges of poverty and inequality, which the Covid-19 pandemic has only exacerbated.
“Lack of access to life-saving vaccines and treatments continues to hold back the recovery of millions of people around the world.
“We cannot have a rapid and inclusive global economic recovery unless the problem of vaccine inequality is urgently addressed,” the president said.
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