The Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma has today, in terms of Section 27 (5) (c) of the Disaster Management Act, 2002 (Act No. 57 of 2002) gazetted a further extension of the National State of Disaster on Covid-19 until 15 March 2022.
The extension follows a special Cabinet meeting to determine the extent to which the management of the Covid-19 pandemic still requires the existence of the National State of Disaster and the legal framework to manage the virus outside the Disaster Management Act. This will allow government to establish alternative measures to detect and contain further outbreaks.
Under the current regulations, nearly all economic and social restrictions have been lifted, and civil liberties are unrestricted. The country and indeed the rest of the world are now entering a new phase of the pandemic that requires us to manage to live with the virus. As we begin this period of readjustment, we should all be guided by the regulations.
Lessons from other countries have taught us that the lifting of all restrictions may lead to an uptick in the number of infections. To this effect, we need to continue wearing our masks at all times when in public, observe a social distance, wash our hands regularly with soap or alcohol-based sanitizer and always ensure that we are in properly ventilated spaces. We need to remember that not wearing of masks in public places as required remains a criminal offence.
Let’s consolidate the gains we realized thus far by adhering to COVID- 19 regulations and protocols. We all have the responsibility to save lives and prevent our health facilities and staff from being overwhelmed by any future variants that can come through. We, therefore, urge everyone to play their part and join the countrywide drive to encourage our people to get vaccinated so that we can all be safe by protecting ourselves and those around us.