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Health minister cancels Covid-19 face masks and travel certificates

23 June 2022 - 00:19 By TimesLIVE
Health minister Dr Joe Phaahla has repealed some key Covid-19 measures, including the wearing of face masks. Stock photo.
Health minister Dr Joe Phaahla has repealed some key Covid-19 measures, including the wearing of face masks. Stock photo.
Image: 123rf/kellyermis

Health minister Dr Joe Phaahla on Wednesday repealed Covid-19 regulations governing the use of face masks and that people leaving SA or coming to SA must produce full vaccination certificates.

In a government gazette on Wednesday, Phaahla repealed regulations 16A, 16B and 16C of the regulations relating to the surveillance and the control of notifiable medical conditions in their entirety.

He said the repeal of the regulations concerned will come into operation on their publication in the gazette.

A leaked memorandum from Phaahla dated June 20 showed he was calling for an end to all remaining Covid-19 restrictions.

The memo stated that the regulations on mask wearing, indoor gatherings and travellers into the country having to be tested and vaccinated were implemented during a specific and extreme phase of the pandemic.

The memo said with a major decline in infection numbers, hospitalisations and deaths, the minister argued these measured were not appropriate.

After the leaked memo, the Institute of Race Relations (IRR) called for the lifting of the lockdown.

IRR head of campaigns Gabriel Crouse said if people want to mask and vaccinate and avoid packed stadiums, they are most welcome to do so.

“The notion that shutting down business to bend other people into the same mould has long been proven ineffective in a country where almost everyone has been infected. Freedom needs a comeback,” Crouse said.

Fedhasa head Rosemary Anderson, on behalf of the hospitality industry, said on Tuesday the organisation welcomes the department of health’s recommendation to repeal the regulations.

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