South Africans no longer need to wear face masks in public settings indoors. Limits on gatherings and entry limitations to South Africa have also been dropped.
Health minister Joe Phaahla on Wednesday night repealed the regulations by notice in the Government Gazette, ahead of a planned press conference on Thursday.
The repealed rules formed part of what is known as the Regulations Relating to the Surveillance and the Control of Notifiable Medical Conditions, into which they were inserted on 4 May. They are:
- 16A: “Wearing of face masks to contain the spread of Covid-19”, which required a mask in any public-use indoor space or when on public transport
- 16B: “Regulation of gatherings to contain the spread of Covid-19”, which limited any gathering of more than 100 people to 50% of maximum venue capacity if everyone was vaccinated, or to an absolute maximum of 1,000 people indoors or 2,000 people outdoors if vaccination status was not checked.
- 16C: “Regulation of persons entering the country to contain the spread of Covid-19”, which demanded either vaccination certificates or recent negative PCR tests, or proof of recovery from Covid-19, from all travellers older than 12 entering South Africa.
In a letter to Health MECs a few days ago, Phaahla said “current epidemiological analysis points towards lower infection rates and that the country has exited the recent spike (5th wave), which the current limited regulations were promulgated to mitigate.”
He told those provincial health leaders that recommendations to scrap regulations 16A, 16B, and 16C would be discussed by cabinet.
The repeal comes after the President met with Premiers and Mayors of the country on Wednesday who were all in agreement that the regulations be scrapped.