Strict new regulations to contain virus will see bars in SA close at 6pm
The government has solidified plans to punish those who refuse medical examinations, isolation and quarantine in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis.
In regulations gazetted by the minister of cooperative governance and traditional affairs (Cogta), Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the government outlines actions that will be taken against those who refuse medical treatment.
This comes after President Cyril Ramaphosa’s declaration of a national disaster on Sunday evening - a move that allows for the use of the Disaster Management Act as a tool to try to contain the spread of the pandemic.
The regulations also spell out the responsibilities of cabinet, the allocation of resources and the conditions under which the sale of liquor may take place.
"No person who has been clinically, or by a laboratory, confirmed as having Covid-19, or who is suspected of having contracted Covid-19, or who has been in contact with a person who is a carrier of Covid–19, may refuse consent to an enforcement officer," state the regulations.
"Provided that if a person does not comply with the instruction or order of the enforcement officer, that person must be placed in isolation or quarantine for a period of 48 hours, as the case may be, pending a warrant being issued by a magistrate, on application by an enforcement officer."
Gauteng health MEC Dr Bandile Masuku on Tuesday forced to seek the intervention of the courts when a family, including a mother and daughter who tested positive for Covid-19, refused quarantine.
After securing an urgent court order, the family were tracked down by the police and admitted to a designated health facility.
Minister of public works and infrastructure Patricia de Lille has been tasked with identifying and making available facilities that can be used as isolation and quarantine areas.
A tough stance has also been taken on the sale of liquor, which may now not be sold between 6pm and 9am. Places such as clubs, taverns and restaurants where people gather to consume liquor are now closed with immediate effect, unless they are entertaining groups of no more than 50 people.
No applications for special or events liquor licenses will be considered during the period of the national disaster
Gauteng premier David Makhura was first out of the starting blocks by implementing the new regulations. He announced measures on Tuesday that would be effective immediately in the province, which currently has the highest number of confirmed cases of Covid-19.
Makhura said anyone wanting to host events such as weddings or funerals would have to approach their local police station for permission.
The department of defence has been directed to make all of its resources available for the duration of the national disaster, along with all levels of government.
Schools will be closed from Wednesday until April 15 - with the possibility of an extended closure, depending on the state of the crisis on that date.
South Africa had 116 confirmed cases as of Wednesday morning.