South Africa relaxes Covid-19 isolation rules, restarts schools with no social distancing : The Tribune India

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South Africa relaxes Covid-19 isolation rules, restarts schools with no social distancing

Discovery of Omicron variant was first announced by South Africa in November, causing irreparable harm to the country as over 20 countries announced travel bans overnight

South Africa relaxes Covid-19 isolation rules, restarts schools with no social distancing

A man rides his bike past a mural by Senzart911 that shows people wearing facemasks, as South Africa scraps isolation for coronavirus disease positive people with no symptoms, at Soweto's Kliptown, on February 1, 2022. Reuters



PTI

Johannesburg, February 1

The South African government has relaxed isolation rules for asymptomatic Covid-19 positive people and removed the one-meter social distancing requirements at schools, as the country exits its fourth wave of the coronavirus.

Announcing the changes on Monday evening, the Presidency said in a statement that the Cabinet had approved the changes to the Adjusted Alert Level 1 Covid-19 regulations after receiving updates on the management of COVID-19 in South Africa from both the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) and the President’s Coordinating Council (PCC).

South Africa remained at the lowest Level one of its five-level lockdown strategy during the fourth wave, which was largely driven by the new Omicron variant during its peak holiday season in December and January.

The discovery of the Omicron variant was first announced by South Africa in November, causing irreparable harm to the country as over 20 countries announced travel bans overnight in what President Cyril Ramaphosa had called a “knee-jerk reaction”.

The ban cost South Africa millions of rands in revenue from tourists in its peak summer season.

“The information gathered through the system used by the Department of Health has reported that South Africa has exited the fourth wave nationally,” the statement said, adding that the decisions would be implemented with immediate effect based on the trajectory of the pandemic and the levels of vaccination in the country.

The amendments no longer require those who test positive but have no symptoms to isolate. Where there are symptoms after testing, the isolation period has been reduced from 10 to seven days.

Contacts do not have to isolate unless they develop symptoms.

“The rationale for these amendments is informed by the proportion of people with immunity to COVID-19 which has risen substantially, exceeding 60-80 per cent in several sero-surveys,” the Presidency said.

Schools that have been under strain for the past two years to implement social distancing regulations have also heaved a sigh of relief.

At some schools, learners were attending classes on alternate days as not all learners enrolled could be accommodated at the same time.

“Primary, secondary and special schools will return to daily attendance. The regulatory provision for social distancing of one metre for learners in schools has also been removed,” the Presidency said as it called on citizens to maintain the protocols of masks and social distancing in public.

The statement also appealed again to those who have not been vaccinated yet to do so urgently.


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