South Africa ends Covid curbs including mask wearing

South Africa has ended COVID restrictions, including wearing a face mask.

Health Minister Joe Fahla published a notice in the government gazette on Wednesday repealing the country’s Kovid-19 rules.

These include wearing masks, restrictions on the size of the gathering, and border checks for COVID-19. Fahla suggested earlier this week that restrictions be lifted following a drop in hospitalizations and reported cases.

An announcement about the rules was expected later this week after a cabinet meeting of President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday.

“I hereby solemnly repeal Regulations 16A, 16B and 16C of the Regulations relating to the Surveillance and Control of Controllable Medical Conditions, Health Minister Maithum Joseph Fahla,” the two-paragraph notice said.

“The repeal of the relevant rules shall come into force after publication in the Official Gazette.”

Regulation 16A deals with the wearing of masks, 16B contains rules on gatherings, and 16C was rules for international travelers entering South Africa.

The minister said his department is working with the National Institute of Communicable Diseases to monitor the pandemic. By mid-June, vital indicators showed:

  • Reported cases declined
  • hospitalizations declined
  • Virus effective reproduction rate reduced to less than 0.7%
  • The positivity rate declined, although the number of tests conducted is also less
  • Reported deaths declined

For these reasons, Fahla said the National Health Department plans to recommend to the cabinet that the rules be repealed.

cases of covid

South Africa reported 1,087 new Covid-19 cases on Tuesday, bringing the total number of laboratory-confirmed cases to 3 987 979.

This increase represents a 7.8% positivity rate, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases said.

In addition, the National Health Department reported 20 deaths and three of these deaths occurred in the last 24 to 48 hours.

The cumulative Covid-19 deaths so far stand at 101,640. With a recovery rate of 97.1%, the total number of cured now stands at 3 872 768.

Vaccine Equivalence

President Cyril Ramaphosa on Wednesday (June 22) called on BRICS to support the African Union’s campaign to ensure that vaccines intended for African countries are procured from African manufacturers.

The President was delivering 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.

While the global economic recovery is underway, President Ramaphosa highlighted that the situation remains critical and the recovery itself uneven.

He said that developing economies are facing the challenges of poverty and inequality, which have been exacerbated by the Kovid-19 pandemic.

“Lack of access to life-saving vaccines and treatments is still holding back the recovery of millions of people around the world.

“We cannot achieve rapid and inclusive global economic recovery unless the issue of vaccine inequality is addressed urgently,” the president said.

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