On Wednesday, 22 June, Health Minister in the country, Joe Phaahla, announced some big changes to the current Covid restrictions which has had us all talking.
A gazette released by the Department of Health read:
I, Mathuma Joseph Phaahla, Minister of Health hereby repeal Regulations 16A, 16B and 16C of the Regulations ...
In simple terms, this means that we no longer have to wear masks indoors or when using public transport, that the restrictions on gatherings are dropped as well as the Covid requirements to enter South Africa.
The Minister in The Presidency, Mondli Gungubele, held a briefing on Thursday morning, with Phaahla present, to further explain these changes.
The Minister said, "we have reached a major turning point since the outbreak of Covid-19". Phaahla then continued to say that when looking at the Covid statistics, the department proposed that the Covid restrictions should be dropped, which Cabinet approved.
These decisions were made as the department found that since May, the death and positivity rate, and the way the virus replicates itself, has gone down and that the peak of the "small fifth wave" was over by mid-June.
Lockdown restrictions were first announced on 16 March 2020 and now, two years and three months later, as well as four Covid waves, we now see an end to all restrictions.
21,8 million people have been vaccinated so far with the Minister encouraging everyone to get vaccinated and get their boosters. Vaccinations will now be a part of primary health services in South Africa.