South Africa is the latest country on the continent to repeal Covid-19 restrictions, signalling an end to the fifth wave of the virus in the country.
Health Minister, Joe Phaahla told relevant authorities to ease off on enforcing covid-19 restrictions, including limiting the size of gatherings and mandatory indoor masks, as Covid-19 cases and reported related deaths continue to decline.
South Africa recorded the most coronavirus cases and deaths in Africa, with more than 3.9 million confirmed infections and upwards of 101,000 deaths.
The minister lauded the country’s victory against covid-19 to its vast vaccination campaign.
“The COVID-19 virus is not yet gone, … we are just stronger than before especially with vaccination,” he said while urging those eligible for boosters or not yet vaccinated to come forward.
South Africa’s vaccination campaign initially struggled because of limited supplies and protracted negotiations with manufacturers but more recently it has been dogged by hesitancy.
About half of the country’s 40 million adults have received at least one vaccine dose, with 46% fully vaccinated.
Nigeria also revised its Covid-19 restrictions earlier this year, allowing citizens to ease off on mandatory masks in public places, but restaurants, banks and airports could still require masks on their premises, but it was no longer government policy.
The Presidential Steering Committee for Covid19 also amended the International Travel Protocols for Covid19, stating that inbound fully vaccinated passengers arriving in the country will no longer be required to take a pre-departure PCR COVID-19 test while samples of fully vaccinated passengers will be taken on arrival for rapid antigen testing by the NCDC within the airport’s arrival hall.
Passengers who have not been vaccinated or have only been partially vaccinated must do a COVID-19 PCR test 48 hours before departure and must pay for their PCR testing through the travel platform.
Similarly, fully vaccinated travellers will not be charged for arrival rapid antigen tests at the airport, and children aged 10 to 18 years will not be required to have pre-arrival PCR tests but will have a sample taken at the arrival hall but will not be charged.