[These assholes led by the Black Jew Ramaphosa are doing their utmost to keep their dumb COVID restrictions going until the end of the year despite the evidence being clear that most of COVID has run it's dumb course. They are just a bunch of power hungry scum. Jan]
Even though President Cyril Ramaphosa has said that South Africa’s state of disaster will end, that doesn’t mean the end of public health interventions to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
Health minister Joe Phaahla said in an interview with the Sunday Times that even after the national state of disaster is lifted, South Africans must continue wearing masks, sanitising, social distancing, and limiting the size of gatherings.
Regulations to limit the size of public gatherings would have to be in place until the end of the year, the minister stated.
The ability to adjust these measures will be moved into the National Health Act, and the Minister of Health will be given jurisdiction over the relevant regulations.
Phaahla said that social distancing would have to continue so long as the virus is circulating, especially indoors.
While President Ramaphosa is concerned about the psychological burden of the ongoing state of disaster, Phaahla said that South Africa wouldn’t throw the baby out with the bathwater like UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson did.
He said that after the United Kingdom lifted its Covid-19 regulations, it saw an increase in infections.
“Even if you have 1% of seriously ill people when you have 200,000 infections a day, it’s a big number and can overwhelm health facilities and become a challenge… So we are trying to find the correct combination and legal framework without the Disaster Management Act,” the minister told the Times.
Phaahla explained that the National Health Act itself would need to be amended before it could be used as the anchor legislation for managing pandemics like Covid-19.
From there, it would take a minimum of three months to implement new regulations after being gazetted.
Shabir Madhi, Professor of Vaccinology at the University of the Witwatersrand
Phaahla’s statements are in-line with recommendations from health experts, including Wits vaccinology professor Shabir Madhi, Ezintsha director at Wits health sciences Prof Francois Venter, and Groote Schuur hospital infectious diseases head Dr Marc Mendelson.
While the experts disagree on the extent of the restrictions that should remain in place, they have said that government should lift the state of disaster while some public health measures stay in place.
They specifically highlighted mask-wearing in densely-packed public transport, along with a “single-minded focus” on the vaccine rollout.
Among the changes they proposed were:
End all restrictions on outdoor activities, including forced mask-wearing
End restrictions on indoor activities, but keep mask-wearing mandatory for scenarios like densely packed public transport
End routine sanitising and fogging
End routine temperature scanning and daily screening
Stop all school restrictions, including rotational learning
Stop testing asymptomatic patients in hospitals
Stop routine testing mild and asymptomatic cases
Stop PCR and antigen testing at borders
End quarantine and contact tracing
Shorten the isolation period of infected people to five days
Stop preventing people from visiting loved ones in hospitals
The experts called on government to abandon its goal of vaccinating 70% of all adults and focus its time and money on the most vulnerable groups.
They suggested targeting people over 50 and providing booster shots to high-risk groups.
Government should also consider mandatory vaccinations in specific scenarios — including for healthcare workers, educators, and indoor gatherings of large groups.
Tourism kneecapped by lockdown
South Africa’s tourism sector has pleaded with the government to relax Covid-19 regulations and allow them to fully reopen for business and create jobs.
Current regulations require travellers to obtain a negative PCR test result before coming to South Africa.
This creates a significant problem for tourists who want to visit remote places in South Africa’s neighbouring countries where tests aren’t available.
Another issue is the lack of certainty for tourists.
It’s of no use to tourists if Covid-19 restrictions are relaxed if there is no guarantee they won’t simply be re-imposed and leave them stranded.