No more masks! – All Covid regulations officially scrapped

South Africa has officially ended all Covid-19 containment regulations in the country, including the wearing of masks indoors and in public settings, limits on gatherings, and border checks.

This comes after Health Minister Joe Phaahla repealed the regulations with a notice in the Government Gazette.

“I, Mathume Joseph Phaahla, Minister of Health hereby repeal Regulations 16A, 16B and 16C of the Regulations Relating to the Surveillance and the Control of Notifiable Medical Conditions, made in terms of sections 90(1)(1), (k) and (w) of the National Health Act, 2003 (Act 61 of 2003), and promulgated on 4 May 2022 under Government Notice 2060, in their entirety.”

“The repeal of the Regulations concerned will come into operation on publication in the Gazette,” Phaahla wrote in the notice.

In a letter to MECs dated two days ago, Phaahla said “current epidemiological analysis points towards lower infection rates and that the country has exited the recent spike (5th wave), which the current limited regulations were promulgated to mitigate.”

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Phaahla will join the Minister in the Presidency Mondli Gungubele for a press briefing on Thursday.

The briefing is expected to focus on Cabinet’s deliberation after the Health Department said that Covid-19 restrictions should be dropped.

In April, the government relaxed Covid-19 regulations by allowing people to not wear masks when  outdoors unless they have flu symptoms.

Indoor and outdoor venues were allowed to take up to 50% of their capacity, provided there is proof of vaccination produced at the entrance.

Meanwhile, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) on Wednesday reported 1,028 new Covid-19 cases had been identified in South Africa in the past 24 hours.

This brings the total number of laboratory-confirmed cases to 3.989,007 representing a 5.3% positivity rate.

The majority of new cases are from Gauteng (40%), followed by Western Cape (17%). KwaZulu-Natal accounted for 11%; Eastern Cape and Mpumalanga each accounted for 7% respectively; Limpopo and North West each accounted for 6% respectively; Free State accounted for 5%; and Northern Cape accounted for 1% of today’s new cases.

The country has also reported 57 deaths and of these, 6 occurred in the past 24 to 48 hours with the cumulative Covid-19 deaths now at 101,697 to date.

There has also been an increase of 37 hospital admissions in the past 24 hours.

ALSO READ: Covid-19 update: 1,028 new cases and 57 deaths reported in SA