Health Minister issued new dates for public consultation

The Health Minister, Dr Joe Phaahla, has extended the time for the public to comment on health restrictions relating to the Surveillance and Control of Notifiable Medical Conditions; Public Measures in Points of Entry; Management of Human Remains and Environmental Health by 3 months with effect from Thursday, May 05 2022.

They also launch the new date for submission of public comments, and that is July 05 2022. This expansion is in line with statutory requirements and will afford the department time to consider all the comments and representations on the regulations. 

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They also launch one e-mail address on which they will see your comments:

legalreviews@health.gov.za(link sends e-mail) 

All public members who submitted comments in the initial public consultation process do not need to resubmit these comments. All comments already submitted will be considered part of this process.

 To confirm that there is no gap in legal tools in order to control the reach of COVID-19 and future notifiable medical conditions, the department has gazetted the limited restrictions for execution with effect from Thursday, May 05 2022. 

These new regulations will make sure to wear face masks at gatherings and persons entering the country. 

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Regarding wearing a face mask, a person must wear a face mask when entering and being inside an indoor public place.

However, these restrictions are not for school going children. Again, under these restrictions, no person is eligible to use any kind of public transport until or unless wearing a facemask. 

Public gatherings are more clearly defined as planned assemblies or meetings involving more than one hundred persons at a particular venue. 

For any indoor and outdoor gatherings, a max of 50% of the venue capacity may be occupied, provided that every people must be vaccinated against COVID-19 and need to show a valid vaccination certificate. 

Alternatively, people who attend the party must need to produce a valid negative COVID-19 test result no older than 72 hours before the gathering date.

All the foreign travellers who arrive at South African Ports of Entry must be vaccinated against COVID-19. They must show a valid vaccination certificate or produce their valid negative PCR COVID-19 test. Their result is not older than 72 hours before the date of departure. 

Suppose an international traveller cannot capable of producing a vaccination certificate, a negative PCR test result older than four days or a negative antigen test result obtained at least 48 hours before departure. In that case, they must undergo antigen testing at the Port of Entry.

 If the result tests positive for COVID-19 in the antigen test, the traveller will be admitted to the country’s hospital, but if the traveller is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, they must self-isolate for ten days after admission into South Africa. 

However, the vaccination or testing requirement does not apply to travellers who are under the age of 12 years and daily passengers from neighbouring countries.

Therefore, public members are reminded that COVID-19 remains a life-threatening disease, and the country is not yet out of the woods. 

It is difficult to protect ourselves and our loved ones against this pandemic and the current rising number of positive cases through vaccination and adhering to preventative measures. 

Fully vaccinated people are requested to have booster shots to increase their immunity.