We’re no longer in a state of disaster, what now? — five of your burning questions answered

SA is officially out of the national state of disaster, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Monday.

The president said the state of disaster, implemented 750 days ago in March 2020, had enabled the government to effectively respond to Covid-19 and introduce life-saving measures required at the height of the pandemic.

The R350 social relief of distress (SRD) grant and Covid-19 TERS scheme were some of the wins named by the president as effective responses to the effects of Covid-19.

TERS was established to support employees whose companies lost all or partial income during the pandemic, while the SRD grant was established to alleviate poverty among unemployed youth.

The government will, after April 16, gazette new regulations in terms of the National Health Act that will replace the state of disaster.

The public has until then to comment on the proposed regulations.

The president said several transitional measures will remain in place for 30 days “to ensure essential public health precautions and other necessary services are not interrupted while the new regulations in terms of the National Health Act come into effect”.

Here are the answers to five of your burning questions about what has changed:

SHOULD I STILL WEAR A MASK?

Mask wearing is no longer compulsory outdoors, only indoors and in other high-risk areas.

“We will still be required to wear a face mask in an indoor public space. This is necessary to prevent transmission in high-risk places, especially while many people remain unvaccinated.”

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HOW MANY PEOPLE CAN GATHER INDOORS AND OUTDOORS?

Ramaphosa said only 50% of any venue capacity may be filled provided people gathering in that venue produce proof of vaccination.

“Where there is no provision for proof of vaccination or a Covid-19 test, then the current upper limit of 1,000 people indoors and 2,000 people outdoors will remain.”

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I’M VISITING SA, DO I NEED TO BE FULLY VACCINATED BEFORE I ENTER THE COUNTRY?

Travellers entering SA are required to produce proof of vaccination or a negative PCR test not older than 72 hours. Travellers who test positive for Covid-19 will be required to isolate for 10 days.

“If a traveller does not submit a vaccine certificate or proof of a negative Covid-19 test, they will be required to do an antigen test on arrival.”

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WILL I STILL GET MY R350 GRANT?

The SRD grant will continue while the department of social development finalises the regulations that will guide its payments to beneficiaries.

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WHAT ABOUT MY EXPIRED DRIVER’S LICENCE?

The president said directions that provide for the extension of the validity of a learner’s licence and driving licence cards, licence discs, professional driving permit and registration of a motor vehicle will remain in place.

Last week, transport minister Fikile Mbalula said there was a backlog of over 1.4-million licences that expired between March 26 2020 and August 31 2021 that needed to be renewed.

Motorists who need to renew their licences were given until April 15 to finalise their renewal applications.

 

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