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Phaahla calls for scrapping of COVID masks, regulations

Health Minister Joe Phaahla has proposed scrapping the coronavirus regulations that require mask wearing indoors, limit the size of gatherings and stipulate testing and vaccination requirements for travellers to SA.

These last remaining regulations have been heavily criticised by the tourism and leisure sector for continuing to affect businesses struggling to regain a footing after more than two years of restrictions, reports Business Day.

In a leaked memo to health MECs, dated 20 June, the minister said SA had exited the recent spike in cases, or fifth wave, which the current regulations were promulgated to mitigate.

The latest epidemiological analysis indicated that as of mid-June, there was a decline in the key indicators monitored by the National Institute for Communicable Diseases.

These include the number of cases, hospital admissions and deaths, as well as a decline in the effective reproductive rate to below 0.7% and a drop in the test positivity rate.
The Department of Health consulted the National Coronavirus Command Council on 20 June and proposed that the regulations for mask wearing and gatherings, as well as port of entry limitations, no longer need to be in place, the minister said.

The recommendations will be discussed with the cabinet in the next 48-72 hours, he said.

The Institute of Race Relations, which has been lobbying for an end to the restrictions, said there was an urgent need to get the economy “firing on all cylinders”. Head of campaigns Gabriel Crouse said: “If people want to mask and vaccinate and avoid packed stadiums, they are most welcome to do so.

“The notion that shutting down business to bend other people into the same mould has long been proven ineffective in a country where almost everyone has been infected.”


Business Day article ¬ –SA waits for cabinet to scrap masks after health minister gives thumbs up (Open access)


See more from MedicalBrief archives:


DoH extends time for comment on new Covid health regulations


Legality of new COVID regulations challenged by Solidarity


BLSA: Vigilance needed over State’s use of new COVID-19 powers


End of State of Disaster doesn’t mean and end to workplace vaccine mandates




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