JOHANNESBURG ( Associated Press) – With the number of COVID-19 cases declining, South Africa on Tuesday ended its national disaster status, the legal two years used to impose sanctions over its handling of the pandemic. Structure.
Sports fans in South Africa can now return to the stadium in large numbers to watch football, rugby and cricket matches. People who show evidence of vaccination or have a negative PCR test within 72 hours can take up to 50% of sports venue capacity.
Most restrictions will be lifted, but people will be required to wear masks in indoor public places. International travelers must provide proof of vaccination or a negative PCR test within 72 hours.
“While the pandemic is not over, and as long as the virus remains among us, these conditions no longer require us to be in a state of national disaster,” President Cyril Ramaphosa said in a nationally televised speech Monday night. “Going forward, the pandemic will be managed in the context of the National Health Act.”
The government used the state of disaster to impose some of the world’s toughest COVID-19 restrictions, including a ban on the sale of alcohol and cigarettes and a nightly curfew.
South Africa with 60 million people has been the most affected by the virus in the continent. More than 100,000 people have died from the disease in the country, which has recorded more than 3.7 million infections since 2020. These official figures are widely believed to be much lower than the actual number, as not many cases of the disease have been recorded, according to health experts.
“We will still be required to wear face masks in an indoor public place. This is essential to prevent transmission in high-risk places, especially when many people live without vaccinations,” Ramaphosa said.
The opposition parties, which have been pressurizing the government to lift the disaster situation, have widely welcomed the government’s decisions. The trade and tourism sector has also welcomed it, saying it will pave the way for the country’s economic recovery after losing an estimated 2 million jobs during the pandemic.
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