South Africa is now at a watershed moment in the response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
President Ramaphosa declared this during an address on the country’s response to the pandemic last night.
The president added that South Africa is “now ready to enter a new phase in our management of the pandemic”.
According to the president, fewer people are becoming severely ill and requiring hospitalisation and deaths are far fewer than before.
“Our scientists tell us that this is mainly because some 60 to 80% of the population has some form of immunity to the virus, either from previous infection or vaccination”, he said.
The president confirmed that government plans to lift the national state of disaster as soon as public comment on the health regulations recently published by the health department has concluded.
“These regulations, when finalised, will replace the State of Disaster regulations as the legal instrument that we use to manage the pandemic”, he said.
The president announced that cabinet has decided to ease several restrictions as part of Adjusted Alert Level 1.
• Both indoor and outdoor venues to now utilise up to 50 percent of their capacity provided that the criteria for entrance are proof of vaccination or a Covid-19 test not older than 72 hours – in cases where there is no provision for proof of vaccination or a Covid-19 test, current upper limit of 1 000 people indoors and 2 000 people outdoors to remain;
• 200 people now permitted at a funeral;
• Ban on night vigils, after-funeral gatherings and ‘after-tears’ gatherings to remain in place;
• Wearing of masks in public indoor spaces to remain but no mask now required outdoors;
• 1 metre social distancing now in place except for schools;
• Travelers entering South Africa to show proof of vaccination or a negative PCR test not older than 72 hours; and
• All unvaccinated travelers entering the country who want to be vaccinated to be offered a vaccination.
The adjusted measures as part of Adjusted Alert Level 1 kick in on 23 March 2022.