When was the COVID-19 curfew regulation lifted in South Africa, what level of regulations is South Africa currently on and what other regulatory changes have since been made?
When the world was hit with the coronavirus pandemic in 2019, it was forced to scramble and make drastic but necessary changes to the way daily lives and activities were lived. The world had to go into lockdown to reduce the spread of the virus, which at the time was killing many people.
Countries started implementing certain lockdown restrictions at different levels depending on the severity of the coronavirus cases being reported, as well as restrictions on the movement of people. South Africa implemented a curfew, but does it still exist?
Curfew in South Africa
As the COVID-19 cases kept rising, with the number of deaths also increasing, the cabinet of South Africa decided to implement a set curfew which limited how long people could remain outdoors and in certain establishments.
Businesses had to ensure they closed down in time to allow for their employees to make it home by curfew, and people had to be in their places of residence by curfew.
Curfew times would differ depending on the adjusted level of restrictions the country was on with the latest time being midnight. Does the curfew, however, still apply right now?
Is there still a curfew in South Africa?
South Africa has had a curfew from the year 2020 until the end of 2021. For those who might be wondering whether South Africa still has a curfew, the answer is not anymore, as it was lifted on 31 December 2021.
The restriction on the movement of persons was approved by the cabinet to be lifted on 31 December 2021 and South Africans have since been allowed to be outside of their places of residence at any time.
This move by the government was a much needed one, as many businesses had suffered economic blows from having to operate until certain times under strict regulations that even included a limit on the number of people that could be gathered in places where hundreds and even thousands could gather at a time. South Africans are now moving around freely.
What level of regulations is South Africa currently on?
Since 31 December 2021, when the curfew was lifted, the country has remained on adjusted alert level one. The cabinet had approved several changes to the level one regulations in a Special Cabinet Meeting held on 30 December 2021.
President Cyril Ramaphosa has also since addressed the nation on 22 March 2022, in which he announced the further easing of regulations that were still in place including some changes when it comes to gatherings, the attendance of funerals, vaccinations, and the mandatory wearing of face masks to prevent the further spread of the virus.
What were the updates on cases at the time of the lifting of the curfew?
At the time of announced changes to the regulations, differences had been observed in relation to cases, influencing the decision to make variations to regulations.
Cases declined in all provinces except in the Western Cape and Eastern Cape, with recorded increases of 14 percent and 18 percent respectively. There has also been a decline in the number of hospital admissions in all provinces except the Western Cape again.
In terms of COVID-19 related deaths, there had unfortunately been a marginal increase in deaths in all provinces across the country.
What other changes to regulations were implemented?
The further easing of regulations was announced when it comes to gatherings, funeral attendance, vaccinations, and the mandatory wearing of masks.
On gatherings, with proof of vaccination or negative COVID tests, no more than 50 percent of venue capacity is allowed with no upper limit on numbers.
Without proof of vaccination and negative tests, no more than 50 percent venue capacity is permitted with a limit of 1 000 people indoors and 2 000 outdoors.
Funerals are restricted to 200 people with a two-hour limit on services. Lastly, masks are no longer mandatory outdoors, but are still required to be worn indoors.
When the coronavirus pandemic shook the world so many changes had to take place, even if it meant the implications would be severe in restoring order and getting the economy back on track. Changes included strict lockdowns and restrictions on movement of people to reduce the virus spread.
South Africa implemented strict regulations on the movement of its people after certain hours by the enforcement of a curfew.
When the cabinet held a special meeting in December 2021, it took to finally lift curfew as the management of the virus had become better and the number of cases had declined.