Is govt ready to scrap Covid-19 regulations on mask-wearing, gatherings?

Ramaphosa on Wednesday is expected to host a meeting to assesses progress and challenges of Covid regulations.

The Department of Health is reportedly considering scrapping South Africa’s Covid-19 regulations related to mask wearing inside an indoor public place and restrictions on gatherings.

The recommendation was made by Health Minister Dr Joe Phaahla in a in a leaked memo dated 20 June 2022, according to a News24 report.

The memo apparently notes that there had been a decline in “critical indicators” including the number of reported Covid-19 cases, hospitalisations, deaths and the “effective reproductive rate of the virus” in the country.

The Citizen reached out to the minister’s spokesperson, Doctor Tshwale, but he said the document was confidential and meant for consultation between minister and his Cabinet colleagues.

“It is out of consensus with MECs that [the] minister formulates recommendations to National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) and Cabinet,” Tshwale said.

On Wednesday President Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to host a meeting of the President’s Coordinating Council (PCC), which assesses progress and challenges on the implementation of the Covid-19 regulations.

Leaked health department memo shared by professor Shabir Madhi:

Winde supports scraping Covid restrictions

Meanwhile, Western Cape Premier Alan Winde welcomed the calling of PCC meeting and emphasised that all remaining Covid-19 restrictions should be removed.

“Finally we may now see an end to all Covid-19 curbs, as I have consistently called for. But it has to be emphasised, it is disappointing that it has taken so long, said Winde in a statement on Tuesday.

Winde emphasised the great impact the restrictions had on public events like the United Rugby Champion final that took place this past weekend.

He said it would have been greater if the Cape Town Stadium was full with the Stormers and the Bulls fans.

“The reality is that this could have been done earlier. In May and again earlier this month I had written to President Ramaphosa calling for a PCC meeting where the province’s latest health data was to be presented to back up removing remaining curbs.

“We should all expect far greater agility from the National Government if we are to get our economy growing and create the jobs we need to recover,” Winde said.

Additional reporting by Faizel Patel

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Coronavirus (Covid-19) Dr Joe Phaahla

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