Health Secretary Joe Phaahla has recommended dropping some key Covid-19 measures and registering fewer cases after the fifth wave has passed.
This includes mask-wearing , gathering restrictions and entry requirements.
In a letter circulated online, Phaahla asked provincial health officials for their opinion on whether the Covid-19 regulations should be scrapped. Business Day confirmed the authenticity of the document and its support for the proposal.
The letter noted that there was a decrease in cases of hospital admissions and deaths.
Phaahla said the recommendations would be discussed with the cabinet “in the next 48 to 72 hours”.
“We have surveillance of the epidemic, collaboration with the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) and up-to-date epidemiological analysis. The numbers suggest lower infection rates and that the country is coming off a recent spike in infections,” Phaahla said of masks indoors. Restrictions on gatherings and access to venues no longer have to exist. The recommendations will be discussed with the cabinet over the next 48 to 72 hours.”
Mask wearing is mandatory indoors, including in shopping malls and on public transport. The number of people allowed into a venue is limited to 50% if people are fully vaccinated or people have negative Covid-19 tests.
Should the Recommendation read approved, SA will join a growing list of countries that have lifted all Covid-19 restrictions,including 29 European countries.
< strong>“An end to all Covid-19 restrictions”
Western Cape Prime Minister Alan Winde welcomed the recommendations and stressed that any remaining Covid-19 restrictions needed to be removed. He confirmed that he will attend the President’s Coordinating Council meeting scheduled for Wednesday.
“Finally, we could now put an end to all Covid-19 Curbs, as I have repeatedly requested. But it must be stressed that it is disappointing that it has taken so long,” Winde said.“We would like the remaining restrictions to be lifted immediately, as our data clearly shows that this is not the case more of the case is needed to protect our healthcare system. This includes the lifting of all assembly restrictions and the lifting of the mask requirement. It is now up to individuals to demonstrate personal responsibility using all the knowledge we have learned over the past two years.”
Shabir Madhi, Professor at the Wits University and vaccination expert, also welcomed suggestions.
“Finally getting a grip on reality. Effective end of Covid-19 restrictions. Now we are working on the economic and other collateral damage of what we have inflicted on ourselves through our stubbornness not to follow science,” he said.
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