South Africa mulls lifting Covid restrictions

Tuesday June 21 2022
Covid vaccine.

A nurse gets a temperature check before receiving a dose of the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine in Durban, South Africa, on February 18, 2021. PHOTO | MLUNGISI MBELE | AFP


South Africa is considering lifting the remaining Covid-19 regulations as daily new cases remain low.

A sharp decline in hospitalisation and deaths has left the country wanting to lift all measures that have been in place to mitigate the pandemic.

South Africa’s Health Minister Joe Phaahla has recommended that wearing masks should be phased out while restrictions on public gatherings should no longer be required.

The requirement of vaccination certificates and Covid-19 tests should also no longer be necessary, according to suggestions by Dr Phaahla.

The Health Minister has since written to provincial health authorities asking for their input on his recommendations.

“We have been monitoring the epidemic, working with the NICD, and the current epidemiological analysis points towards lower infection rates and that the country has exited the recent spike or 5th wave which the current limited regulations were promulgated to mitigate,” Dr Phaahla said.


After provincial health authorities contribute their views on the minister’s proposals, the cabinet is expected to decide if it is conducive to scrap all Covid-19 restrictions.

“I, therefore, request that you as MECs of Health advise if you are in support or have any concerns regarding the repeal of these regulations as gazetted on the 4th May 2022 and feel free to offer any comments on this proposal repeal,” said Dr Phaahla.

South Africa is no longer under the state of national disaster and last relaxed Covid-19 restrictions at the beginning of May.

At the moment, masks are mandatory in indoor public places, while gatherings at venues are capped at 50 percent capacity.

Currently, vaccination certificates are required at public gatherings, while unvaccinated people are required to have negative test results conducted not more than 72 hours prior to the gathering.

South Africa was among the hardest hit by the pandemic on the African continent.

This saw some countries banning travellers from South Africa, especially at the height of infections of the Delta and Omicron variants.