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South Africa

No more masks or restrictions on gatherings, signs Health Minister Phaahla

The health minister has repealed regulations requiring face masks, restrictions on gatherings and checks at borders.

JOHANNESBURG – Health Minister Joe Phaahla has ended the mandatory use of masks indoors as well as removed restrictions on gatherings.

Phaahla signed a repeal on Wednesday with one other change – checks at South Africa’s borders.

Regulation 16A refers to “wearing of face masks to contain the spread of COVID-19”. Up until Wednesday, people were required to use a face mask in any public indoor space or when using public transport. Regulation 16B refers to the “regulation of gatherings to contain the spread of COVID-19”.

Limits were put on gatherings of no more than 100 people and up to 50% of a venue’s maximum capacity if everyone was vaccinated. If vaccination statuses were unknown, a maximum of 1,000 people indoors and 2,000 outdoors was permitted. “Regulation of persons entering the country to contain the spread of COVID-19” refers to 16C, which required negative PCR tests, vaccnination certificates or proof of recovery from COVID-19 from travellers older than 12 years old.

On Thursday morning, Phaahla is due to join Minister in the Presidency Mondli Gungubele for a briefing.

On Tuesday, a leaked memo that couldn’t be verified led to an expectation that government would be relooking at its stance on wearing masks.

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