23rd June 2022
As of Wednesday, South Africans no longer need to wear face masks. Limits on gatherings and border checks for Covid-19 – and the need to be vaccinated to enter South Africa – have also been dropped. Health minister Joe Phaahla quietly repealed the regulations by notice in the Government Gazette, ahead of a planned press conference on Thursday.
The repealed rules formed part of what is formally known as the Regulations Relating to the Surveillance and the Control of Notifiable Medical Conditions, into which they were inserted on 4 May. They are:
16A: "Wearing of face masks to contain the spread of Covid-19", which required a mask in any public-use indoor space or when on public transport16B: "Regulation of gatherings to contain the spread of Covid-19", which limited any gathering of more than 100 people to 50% of maximum venue capacity if everyone was vaccinated, or to an absolute maximum of 1,000 people indoors or 2,000 people outdoors if vaccination status was not checked.16C: "Regulation of persons entering the country to contain the spread of Covid-19", which demanded either vaccination certificates or recent negative PCR tests, or proof of recovery from Covid-19, from all travellers older than 12 entering South Africa.
The three sets of regulations, now scrapped entirely, had each contained clauses that would have allowed Phaahla to temporarily suspend their enforcement, then reinstate them again if he saw fit.
In a letter to MECs dated a few days ago, Phaahla said "current epidemiological analysis points towards lower infection rates and that the country has exited the recent spike (5th wave), which the current limited regulations were promulgated to mitigate."