The South African Health Department unpacked new Covid ruIes. Initially exempting children from wearing facemask in the classrooms and general indoor gatherings, the health department issued a corrective to confirm they could only take off their mask when outdoors in playgrounds or sports fields.
The new regulations came on Thursday at a time when South Africa has reported a new wave of covid 19 in the country, the Centre for Epidemic Response and Innovation (CERI) warned in late April.
The plan for children to wear masks in school is part of the government's plans to limit the spread of covid 19.
Adults in South Africa are also required to wear masks in enclosed public places, according to rules issued by the health department.
For any indoor and outdoor planned assembly or meeting involving more than one hundred people, a maximum of 50% of the venue capacity may be occupied if all attendees are vaccinated. Alternatively, a valid negative test result can enable South Africans to assemble.
The regulations provide that if the attendance cannot comply with the indoor gathering requirement it shall be limited to 1000 people or 50% of the capacity while the attendance at an outdoor gathering shall be limited to 2000 people or 50% of the capacity.
Regarding travels, all international visitors must be vaccinated and produce a vaccination certificate; or provide a negative PCR test result not older than 72 hours.
Most affected country
South Africa, is officially the continent's most affected country by Covid-19. Here, less than 45% of the adult population is fully vaccinated out of a population of nearly 60 million. The country has officially recorded more than 3.8 million cases and some 100,350 deaths.
In early March, the country had gone 48 hours without a single Covid-19-related death, the first time this had happened since 2020. President Cyril Ramaphosa had announced in early April that all legal restrictions related to the pandemic would be lifted.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), two new Omicron sub-variants, whose virulences are yet to be determined, are causing the new wave of Covid-19 pandemic in the country.
"South African scientists who identified Omicron late last year have now reported two more Omicron sub-variants, BA.4 and BA.5, as the cause of a spike in cases in South Africa," WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Wednesday. On that same day, more than 6 000 new cases were reported in South Africa. Two new Omicron sub-variants are believed to be driving an increase in cases.