South Africans would still be required to wear masks indoors for the foreseeable future, according to Health Minister Joe Phaahla, who on Wednesday announced health regulations in relation to combatting the Covid-19 pandemic.
But the rule excludes children at school. Under the limited regulations, those using public transport must also wear masks. This as the number of infections continue to rise, with over 6 000 new cases recorded in the last reporting period.
Gatherings will see a maximum of 50% of venue capacity than can be occupied for indoor and outdoor gatherings, but attendees need to be vaccinated and produce a vaccination certificate or a valid negative Covid-19 test result not older than 72 hours.
The regulations stipulate that visiting international travellers must be able to produce a valid vaccination certificate or produce a valid negative PCR Covid-19 test result also not older than 72 hours before the date of departure.
When they are unable to produce a vaccination certificate or a negative PCR test, they must undergo antigen testing when they arrive in the country. If the antigen results come back positive, the traveller will still be admitted into the country, but if the traveller is experiencing symptoms of Covid-19, they must self-isolate for 10 days after admission into South Africa.
Phaahla reiterated that Covid-19 remains a life-threatening disease, noting that the country is not yet out of the woods. Fully vaccinated people are urged to consider booster shots to increase their immunity.
The minister also announced the extension period for public comments on health regulations by three months from today. The closing date for the submission of comments is now on July 5.
He said this would allow the department sufficient time to go through and consider all comments and representations on the regulations. Members of the public who submitted comments in the initial public consultation process do not need to resubmit.