Cogta minister gazettes the new rules replacing state of disaster.
By Lehlohonolo Lehana.
Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has gazetted new regulations terminating national state of disaster and introducing new transitional measures as the government prepares to begin managing the Covid pandemic through the National Health Act.
A separate gazette published by Health minister Joe Phaahla confirms that the country's Covid-19 Vaccine Injury No-Fault Compensation Scheme will continue to operate now that the state of disaster has lapsed.
This gives effect to announcements made by president Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday evening (4 April) in which he noted the country has entered a 'new phase in the Covid-19 pandemic'.
"Going forward, the pandemic will be managed in terms of the National Health Act. The draft Health Regulations have been published for public comment," he said.
"Once the period for public comment closes on the 16th of April 2022 and the comments have been considered, the new regulations will be finalised and promulgated."
The Disaster Management Act provides that certain elements of the regulations may remain in place for a limited period for 'post-disaster recovery and rehabilitation', Ramaphosa said.
"Accordingly, certain transitional provisions will remain in place for a period of 30 days after the termination of the National State of Disaster to ensure essential public health precautions and other necessary services are not interrupted while the new regulations in terms of the National Health Act come into effect."
Mandatory protocols when in a public place
- The wearing of a face mask is mandatory for every person when in an indoor public place, excluding a child under the age of six years.
- No person will be allowed to use, operate, or perform any service on any form of public transport without a mask.
- No person will be allowed to enter or be in a building, place or premises, including government buildings, places or premises, used by the public to obtain goods or services, if he or she is not wearing a face mask.
- All persons in an open public space need not wear a face mask but must maintain a distance of at least one metre from another person.
- The school environment is excluded from the requirement of maintaining a distance of at least one metre from another person.
- An employer may not allow any employee to perform any duties or enter the employment premises if the employee is not wearing a face mask while performing his or her duties.
All gatherings are permitted at 50% of the venue capacity:
- Provided persons are fully vaccinated and in possession of a valid vaccination certificate; or
- Unvaccinated but in possession of a valid certificate of a negative Covid-19 which was obtained not more than 72 hours before the date of the gathering,
Alternatively, gatherings are permitted for the unvaccinated and those without tests but limited to 1,000 persons or less for indoor venues and 2,000 persons or less for outdoor venues.
If the venue is too small to hold the prescribed number of persons observing a distance of at least one metre from each other, then not more than 50% of the capacity of the venue may be used, subject to strict adherence to all health protocols and social distancing measures.
Gatherings at a workplace for work purposes are allowed, subject to strict adherence to all health protocols and social distancing measures.
Hotels, lodges, bed and breakfasts, timeshare facilities, resorts and guest houses are allowed full capacity of the available rooms for accommodation, with patrons wearing face masks and observing a distance of at least one metre from each other when in common spaces."
Re-opening of borders
The 21 land borders which are fully operational, will remain as such and the 32 land borders which were closed, will remain closed.
The Home Affairs minister may, from the date of commencement of this amendment to the regulations, issue directions regarding the opening and closing of any further ports of entry.
Travelling to and from the Republic from neighbouring countries is allowed, provided that travellers who are:
- Fully vaccinated must upon arrival at the land border produce a valid vaccination certificate; and
- Unvaccinated must upon arrival at the land border, provide a valid certificate of a negative Covid-19 test, recognised by the World Health Organisation, which was obtained not more than 72 hours before the date of travel.
International air travel is restricted to the following
- OR Tambo International Airport;
- King Shaka International Airport;
- Cape Town International Airport;
- Lanseria International Airport; and
- Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport.
In the event of the traveller's failure to submit a certificate as proof of a negative Covid-19 test, the traveller will be required to do an antigen test on arrival at his or her own cost and in the event of a traveller testing positive for Covid-19, he or she will be required to isolate him or herself at his or her own cost, for a period of 10 days.
Outbound travellers from South Africa must comply with the requirements of the country of destination.
All commercial seaports will remain open and small crafts, and all passenger ships, including cruise ships, will be allowed entry into seaports, in line with all health and border law enforcement protocols.