The Health Department’s Director General, Dr Sandile Buthelezi, says the latest draft regulations on COVID-19 propose that it will no longer be compulsory to wear face masks outdoors.
The Department has published the proposed regulations under the National Health Act – focussing on the wearing of masks, vaccinations and travel among other COVID-19-related topics.
The public comment period for the new regulations will close on April 15.
Dr Buthelezi says the proposal suggests masks will be compulsory for indoor gatherings.
“I know there has been a lot of media hype around face masks as other countries have removed them. But we still believe that inside we still need to push for masking. But when someone is outside, we want to avoid people wearing masks. There is enough evidence now that it is not a useful intervention.”
Calls to scrap National State of Disaster
Government has extended the National State of Disaster to April 15, 2022.
Tuesday marked two years since the announcement of the National State of Disaster to contain the spread of the deadly coronavirus (COVID-19).
Government says there are still measures needed to be implemented before ending the State of Disaster.
More details in the report below:
However, various organisations and health experts have been calling for the State of Disaster to be completely scrapped.
Non-Profit Organisation, Dear SA, says there is evidence that the COVID-19 pandemic no longer exists.
Director Gideon Joubert says South Africa is no longer in a pandemic.
“The reasons are very simple. It is because the reasons that give rise to the State of Disaster no longer exist. We are no longer in a pandemic, as we have seen decisions made by other countries, and we do have effective measures to deal with COVID-19 already in our toolbox. Also, in the event of a pandemic, government has the power to reinstitute a State of Disaster with the correct oversight. The reason given by the COGTA Minister is because she needs time to amend laws and regulations. That does confirm, rationally, that we are no longer in an actual disaster,” says Joubert.
Professor of Vaccinology at Wits University, Shabir Madhi says the remaining restrictions and regulations no longer serve any purpose and should be lifted.
Professor Madhi says the country needs to move to a phase of learning to live with the virus.
Meanwhile, some political parties added their voices to the extension, saying it’s unnecessary and uncalled for.
More details in the video below: