South Africa Lifts COVID19 Restrictions, Ends Adjusted Level 1 Lockdown

FILE PHOTO: South African President Cyril Ramaphosa visits the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) treatment facilities at the NASREC Expo Centre in Johannesburg, South Africa April 24, 2020. Jerome Delay/Pool via REUTERS

South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa has declared an end to the COVID19 restrictions in that country as the Adjusted Level 1 Lockdown ends on Wednesday. In a televised address, President Ramaphosa said that while the state of disaster status will be removed or replaced soon, a number of restrictions would be eased from Wednesday.

Previously, the president had announced an extension of the two-year-old restriction, drawing the ire of businesses that been adversely affected by the coronavirus pandemic and its after-effects.

Since October 2021, the country has been on the adjusted level 1 lockdown, the lowest of a five-tier system of restrictions, since October last year, but infection rate and resultant deaths have dropped. More than 3.7 million cases of COVID19 and nearly one hundred thousand deaths have been reported in South Africa.

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South Africa’s economy has been badly hit and business owners who kicked against the extension of the restriction to April 15 when it was announced, will welcome this latest update. From now, the following are activities allowed:

Masks-wearing is still mandatory except outside and for children under six;

. Social distancing reduced to 1m, excluding in schools;

. Funerals and cremations are allowed a maximum of 200 people or 50% of the venue;

. Night vigils and after tears events still not allowed;

. Funerals and cremations are restricted to a maximum of two hours;

. All gatherings, sport, religious, cultural and commercial are allowed with 50% capacity, but:

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. People must be fully vaccinated; or

. Unvaccinated people must produce a negative PCR test conducted within 72 hours

. People who are unvaccinated, not fully vaccinated, neither in possession of vaccination certificate nor have a 72-hour Covid-19 test are still allowed into venues, except they are limited to:

. 1 000 people for indoor venues;

. 2 000 people for outdoor venues;

. A certificate of occupancy numbers must still be displayed at venues;

. Work gatherings are allowed.

Hotels, lodges and accommodation businesses are allowed full capacity subject to face masks and social distancing in common spaces;

. A vaccine certificate is required, or Covid-19 test done within 72 to enter South Africa; and

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. Outbound travellers must comply with that country’s regulations.

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