More COVID-19 restrictions could be lifted including the wearing of masks

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The Department of Health says Cabinet is taking advice from science experts on whether more COVID-19-related restrictions can be lifted, including the wearing of face masks.

Health Minister Joe Phaahla has reportedly written to provincial health MECs, recommending that all COVID-19 regulations be lifted, as the country exits the fifth wave of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Department’s Spokesperson, Foster Mohale, says an announcement will be made in the coming days.

“As you know, the wave was originally defined by the new variants. But in this case, the fifth wave was driven by sub-variants of Omicron. So, they are looking at the current regulations and trying to see which ones can be lifted and which ones can be strengthened. This is based on the scientific report presented by our scientists who provide advice to the minister in the Cabinet.

SAFM’s Elvis Presslin spoke to Foster Mohale, Spokesperson for the National Health Department:

Winde calls for the scrapping of the remaining COVID-19 restrictions

Western Cape Premier Alan Winde says he will be calling for the scrapping of the remaining COVID-19 restrictions when they meet with the President’s Coordinating Council on Wednesday.

Winde says the wearing of face masks and restrictions on numbers at public gatherings are no longer required to protect the country’s health care system.

“Definitely we will be pushing for every one of the COVID-19 restrictions to be removed. We need to for example have to get our stadiums back, it would be really good to have a full stadium for the Stormers and the Bulls game, this weekend in Cape Town but we need our stadium, our convention centre full.”

“We need to make sure that all of those regulations that apply to tourists coming in and out of our country are removed just as our competitors have all removed those restrictions,” says Winde.

Dear South Africa togo ahead with court action

Civil organisation, Dear South Africa, says although it welcomes the plan by the Health Department to lift all COVID-19 restrictions, it is still going ahead with its court action.

There have been widespread calls for government to scrap the remaining COVID-19 regulations as the country exits the fifth wave of the virus.

Managing Director at Dear South Africa, Rob Hutchinson, says government was pushed to this decision.

“We must remember that there are two pending cases here, the one is against the limited regulations which has been announced that they’ll be withdrawing those and those limited regulations are mask mandate, social distancing and limit on venue capacities. However, there are still the draft regulations which were adopted from the disaster management act to be permanent underneath the National Health Act and that we are still going to court to have those regulations set aside as well,” says Hutchinson.

VIDEO: Plans to replace state of disaster with COVID-19 health regulations: Rob Hutchinson