Ramaphosa eases Covid-19 adjusted level one lockdown regulations

Picture: Deaan Vivier

President Cyril Ramaphosa has eased Covid-19 regulations under adjusted lockdown level one. 

Ramaphosa was addressing the nation on Tuesday evening on developments in South Africa’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The president’s family meeting comes after government extended the state of disaster to 15 April.

Ramaphosa said the country is now at a watershed moment and is now ready to enter a new phase in the management of the pandemic.

“After four waves of infection, fewer people are becoming severely ill and requiring hospitalisation. There are far fewer deaths than before. Based on those consultations and the recommendations of the National Coronavirus Command Council, Cabinet has decided to ease several restrictions as part of Adjusted Alert Level1.” 

Ramaphosa said the restrictions on gatherings are being significantly changed.

“In previous regulations, the emphasis was on placing an upper limit on the number of people who could attend a gathering. The approach going forward is that both indoor and outdoor venues can now take up to 50% of their capacity provided that the criteria for entrance are proof of vaccination or a COVID test not older than 72 hours.” 

However, Ramaphosa said where there is no provision for proof of vaccination or a COVID test, then the current upper limit will remain of 1,000 people indoors and 2,000 people outdoors.

“This means that if we are vaccinated or have recently tested negative, we will be able to return to watching sports in stadiums and attending music concerts, theatre performances, conferences and other events. The regulations on social distancing are also being changed, requiring that a space of 1 metre is maintained between persons in all settings except schools.” 

Ramaphosa also said the maximum number of people permitted at a funeral will increase from 100 to 200 while night vigils, after-funeral gatherings and ‘after-tears’ gatherings are not allowed.

Ramaphosa also there are changes to the regulation on the wearing of masks. 

“As before, it is mandatory to wear a cloth mask or similar covering over the nose and mouth when in public indoor spaces. However, a mask is not required when outdoors.” 

Ramaphosa said travellers entering South Africa will need to show proof of vaccination or a negative PCR test not older than 72 hours.

“All unvaccinated travellers entering the country who want to be vaccinated will be offered a vaccination.

Ramaphosa said the measures will take effect from Wednesday the 23rd of March 2022, once the new regulations are gazetted. 

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