On the 4th of April 2022 the President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa announced the termination of the National State of Disaster which had been declared way back in 2020 in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. The president noted that the regulations that had been put in place thereof had assisted the country to manage the pandemic.
One may ask, what does this mean and what changes are brought about by the termination of the National State of Disaster?
The short answer is that, we are moving towards the norm that existed before the declaration of the national state of disaster. However, the president announced that some regulations will remain in force for a further 30 days. The termination of the national state of disaster was primarily occasioned by the reduction in cases of severe illness despite the fact that the 4th wave had proved to be transmittable more than the previous waves.
“The changing nature of the pandemic in our country was most evident in the fourth wave of the pandemic in December and January. Although we recorded a far higher number of infections in the fourth wave than in each of the previous waves, there were relatively fewer cases of severe illness, hospitalisation and death. During the third wave in July last year, the highest average daily number of COVID-related deaths recorded was 420. In the fourth wave, in February this year, the highest daily number of COVID-related deaths was 240. In the past week, this number has dropped to just 12.” President Ramaphosa, 4/04/2022
The pandemic is still prevalent but indications are that the virus is no longer causing severe illness. The president announced further, that due to the termination of the national state of disaster, further management of the pandemic will be handled under the National Health Act 61 of 2003, whose regulations have been published for comment until 16 April 2022.
The termination of the national state of Disaster consequently means that the regulations occasioned by its declaration back in 2020 and updated with time, are repealed, except a few transitional measures so as not to interrupt activities when the move to regulations under the National Health Act comes into effect.
The transitional measures that will briefly remain in place are the following;
The COVID-19 Vaccine Injury No-Fault Compensation Scheme shall continue until it has “achieved its purpose,” the president announced, whereas the Corona virus alert levels shall no longer be applicable.
In all, the termination of the national state of disaster is a huge step towards returning to norm that existed before the Covid pandemic. However, people are still encouraged to be vigilant and to exercise hygiene standards in order to curb the spread of the virus.
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