4 new lockdown changes for South Africa
Government has published a series of directives which update the country’s lockdown rules in a number of areas, including the opening of pre-schools and visiting old-age homes.
With President Cyril Ramaphosa reportedly set to announce a move to a level 1 lockdown this week, the directives further relax restrictions and provide clarity on lingering issues such as visitations.
These new lockdown rules are outlined in more detail below.
Old age homes and retirement villages
Social Development minister Lindiwe Zulu has published a new directive which provides further clarity around visits to old age homes and frail care facilities.
Visits to old age homes have been prohibited since the country first moved into lockdown at the end of March as older citizens are seen as being most at-risk to the coronavirus.
The latest directive confirms that visits are now permitted, provided that:
- The visits are planned;
- There is a pre-visit screening call;
- Visitors are subjected to symptom checking and determination of previous known exposure to Covid-19.
Pre-schools, aftercare, and early childhood development programmes
Zulu also clarified that early childhood development programmes and partial care facilities may be reopened subject to health and safety measures being in place.
Some of the main conditions include:
- A child must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian, or, if not practically possible, by a person designated by a parent or legal guardian, every day when the child attends an early childhood development programme or a partial care facility – and they must be screened;
- In the case of a child who is twelve years or younger and accompanied by a designated person, the parents or legal guardian must provide the child with the required information for the purpose of the symptom screening;
- A parent, legal guardian or a person designated by a parent or legal guardian has a right to enquire from the early childhood development programme or partial care facility about the details of the measures that have been put in place;
- A child with a known underlying health condition that may place the child at a higher than normal risk category as defined by the Department of Health, may not return unless s a medical practitioner gives written authorisation that it is safe.
Transport minister Fikile Mbalula has gazetted a directive which expands the circumstances when international flights are allowed. These include:
- The transportation of fuel, cargo and goods;
- The evacuation of a South African national or permanent resident to the republic;
- The repatriation of a foreign national to their country of nationality or permanent residence;
- Medical emergencies in respect of a life-threatening condition;
- The movement of staff of diplomatic and international organisations;
- The return of a South African national or permanent resident to their place of employment, study or residence, outside the republic;
- Other categories, as authorised by the Minister of Transport, but excluding international passenger air travel for leisure purposes.
The directive also further opens up which activities are permitted for general aviation, including recreational aviation.
Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development Ronald Lamola has published a directive which provides for the running of the country’s courts under both a level 2 and level 1 lockdown.
While the directive sets outs the well-understood health protocols which need to be followed, it also updates a number of the existing regulations, including:
- A list of cases which must be prioritised;
- An audiovisual link or any electronic mode may be used in any proceedings where the presiding officer deems it appropriate and, where to do so, would prevent unreasonable delay, save costs or be convenient and make it unnecessary for the person to appear in person in the courtroom.
- The number of persons allowed in a public gallery of a courtroom, courthouse or justice service point, is subject to a restriction to not more than 50% of the available floor space, with members of the public observing a distance of at least one and a half metres from each other.