Solidarity has issued a legal letter to Health Minister Dr Joe Phaahla asking him to disclose how the decision on the new COVID-19 health regulations was reached. It believes the new regulations are “unlawful and irrational”, reports Polity.
Phaahla published amendments to health regulations on the evening of Wednesday 4 May, just hours before the 30 days of transitional rules – implemented after the end of the national State of Disaster – automatically lapsed. The regulations retain the wearing of masks in all indoor public spaces. The venue capacity for indoor and outdoor gatherings is a maximum of 50%, if attendees are vaccinated against COVID-19 and have a valid vaccination certificate. If these requirements are not met, attendees must produce a valid negative COVID-19 test result not older than 72 hours before the date of the gathering.
Solidarity CEO Dirk Hermann said it has taken SA back to family meetings and lockdowns, and that there was major uncertainty about the legal framework within which these limited regulations functioned.
“The most draconic and worrying of the new regulations is the fact that the health minister can arbitrarily decide to enact or withdraw them. Practically, this means the minister can put the whole country into lockdown with no prior notice and no limits to this power. The huge uncertainty this creates in several sectors of the economy will have major consequences if the regulations remain as is,” he said.
Meanwhile, reports News24, a day later, (5 May), the Department of Health clarified that pupils should continue wearing face masks in school. It said it was a “regrettable human error” that its Wednesday statement said pupils should not wear masks in school. “This is not part of the gazetted health regulations and is, therefore, retracted to avoid any misunderstanding of the regulations. Therefore, children, like other people, are expected to continue complying with the provisions of Regulation 16A on face masks in the classrooms and general indoor gatherings, unlike outdoors in playgrounds and sports fields,” it advised.
See more from MedicalBrief archives: