• Adami Geldenhuys

Covid-19 Regulatory Update 15 December 2021-11 January 2022


This is the first edition of the Lexinfo Covid-19 Regulatory Update for 2022.


Highlights in this edition include:

  • the withdrawal of the circular on revised contact tracing, quarantine and isolation protocols related to the Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic issued on 23 December 2021 by the National Health Department;

  • the Novak Djokovic matter;

  • the directive in respect of access to and conduct of proceedings in the Labour Court and Labour Appeal Court;

  • the amendments to Adjusted Alert Level 1.


ADJUSTED ALERT LEVEL 1

ALCOHOL BAN

BORDERS

CONTACT TRACING | QUARANTINE | ISOLATION

CORRUPTION

COURTS

EMPLOYMENT

IVERMECTIN

VACCINES


ADJUSTED ALERT LEVEL 1


Disaster Management Act 57 of 2002

Regulations made in terms of section 27(2) (Amendment Alert Level): Repeal of Regulation 66; Substitution of Regulation 69 (Gatherings); Amendment of Regulation 75 (Partial re-opening of borders); Substitution of Regulation 77 (Sale and dispensing of liquor); Amendment of Regulation 80 (Offences and penalties). RGN 480 in Government Gazette 43258 dated 29 April 2020 amended.

In operation on date of publication.

RGN1659 GG 45715 p3 30Dec2021


The Presidency. Cabinet approves several changes to the Adjusted Alert Level 1 COVID-19 regulations. 30 December 2021.

“Based on the trajectory of the pandemic, the levels of vaccination in the country and the available capacity within the health sector, Cabinet has decided to make the following changes to Adjusted Alert Level 1 with immediate effect:

The curfew will be lifted. There will therefore be no restrictions on the hours of movement of people.

Gatherings are restricted to no more than 1 000 people indoors and no more than 2 000 people outdoors. Where the venue is too small to accommodate these numbers with appropriate social distancing, then no more than 50 per cent of the capacity of the venue may be used. All other restrictions remain in place.

The risk of increase in infections is still high given the high transmissibility of the Omicron variant. Government therefore calls on all organisers of these gatherings to ensure that all health protocols are observed at all times and that all attendees are encouraged to be vaccinated.

Alcohol establishments that have licences to operate beyond 23h00 will revert back to full licence conditions.”


ALCOHOL BAN


Ngqangashe, Yandisa. What South Africa’s Covid alcohol restrictions point to for future policy.

2021 Dec 15 The Conversation

“The COVID-19 related alcohol regulations provided an unprecedented real-world experiment to put alcohol regulation onto the policy agenda. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the South African government has implemented intermittent alcohol prohibitions and restrictions. The aim was to ease the burden of people with alcohol-related trauma in hospitals when many patients were being admitted with severe COVID-19. These regulations demonstrated the benefits of reduced alcohol consumption on the South African healthcare system.”


Ngqangashe, Yandisa [et al.] Regulating alcohol: strategies used by actors to influence COVID-19 related alcohol bans in South Africa.

2021 18(21) International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 11494

Abstract: “South Africa has used intermittent alcohol prohibitions and restrictions as a strategy to relieve hospitals of alcohol-related trauma cases and spare services for COVID-19 caseloads. Alcohol regulation is highly contested and involves a diverse range of actors who influence policies to align with their interests. This study sought to examine the strategies used by these actors to shape the COVID-19 related alcohol regulation in South Africa as presented by online news media. We found that the voice of pro-regulation actors is smaller and fragmented compared to opponents of the regulation as each actor seeks to advance their own interests. Despite the regulations initially being framed as a COVID-19 public health measure, pro-regulation government ministries, such as police and transport, perceive the regulations as a way of reducing existing (pre-pandemic) alcohol-related harm, such as crime, road-traffic injuries, and gender-based violence. The pre-existing failures in the alcohol regulatory environment and the current policy momentum created by COVID-19 could present an opportunity to retain components of the new laws and improve alcohol regulation in South Africa. However, there is a dominant and cohesive alcohol industry voice that strongly opposes the regulations, citing economic impacts, illicit trade and lack of evidence on the positive effects of the alcohol bans. Strategies employed by industry include lobbying, framing, and litigation. The regulations implemented under the guise of COVID-19 prevention have presented valuable lessons for alcohol regulation more generally. However, whether these regulations translate to sustainable policy changes will depend upon how and if the strong industry voice is countered.”


BORDERS


Disaster Management Act 57 of 2002

Regulations made in terms of section 27(2) (Amendment Alert Level): Amendment of Regulation 75.

“The 21 land borders which are fully operational will remain as such and the 32 land borders which were closed will remain closed except for the Telle Bridge Port of Entry which will reopen on the commencement of this amendment to the Regulations.”

The amendment to the Regulations will come into effect on the date of publication.

RGN1646 GG 45697 p3 21Dec2021


CONTACT TRACING | QUARANTINE | ISOLATION


Geffen, Nathan. SA Government’s Covid health policy has become a confused mess.

2021 Dec 29 Daily Maverick

“On 23 December the Director-General of Health announced major changes to Covid policy:

Contacts of people who tested positive would no longer need to quarantine. Previously they had to quarantine for two weeks. The health department would stop tracing the contacts of people who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2.

With some caveats, people who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 would have to isolate for eight days, down from ten.

The announcement was unclear in parts. It contained an impractical demand that positive people wear a mask at all times at home. Experts had also recommended isolation be reduced to five days. But for once the government had acted swiftly following expert advice, so the announcement was welcome progress. Then on 28 December, the weirdest statement was published by the health department, withdrawing the 23 December policy change. The reasons are unclear.”


National Health Department. Health recalls circular on revised contact tracing, quarantine and isolation protocols related to Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. 28 December 2021.

“Thus, in line with the principles of transparency and openness, the department has decided to put the implementation of the revised policy changes on hold, while taking all additional comments and inputs received into consideration. This means the status quo remains, and all prior existing regulations with regards to contact tracing, quarantine and isolation remain applicable. An amended circular will be re-issued once all additional inputs and comments have been considered.”


National Health Department. Revision to contact tracing, quarantine and isolation protocols. 23 December 2022. (Circular – recalled – see media statement)


CORRUPTION


PPE


Maeko, Thando. Ndlovu fails in bid to stay SIU review application over PPE millions.

2021 Dec 21 Business Day

“A court bid by businessperson Hamilton Ndlovu to stop the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) from recouping R172m he allegedly received from the government in a tender to supply personal protective equipment (PPE) has been dismissed by the Special Tribunal.”


Wanted: Woman who 'scammed PPE business investors out of R10m'.

2021 Dec 16 TimesLive


COURTS


Labour Court. Directive in respect of access to and conduct of proceedings in the Labour Court and Labour Appeal Court as and from the beginning of the first term 2022. Number LC/LAC 0I /2022. 5 January 2022.

“This Directive will apply with effect from 17 January 2022 and all previous Directives issued in relations to the conduct of proceedings in the Labour and Labour Appeal Court in light of Covid-19 pandemic are no longer applicable.”


Labour Court. Directive from the Judge President in respect of service by electronic mail (email). Number LC 02 /2022. 5 January 2022.


EMPLOYMENT


See also: Vaccines: Mandatory Vaccinations


Booysen, Chevon. Piketberg farmworkers left unemployed after farm owner’s ‘job for jab’ decree.

2021 Dec 15 IOL News

“A group of farmworkers in Piketberg has been left jobless after their employer at Klein Vogel Vallei Farm dismissed them, allegedly for refusing to take the Covid-19 vaccine. The five farmworkers said farm owner, Frikkie Rossouw, enforced mandatory vaccinations on seasonal and permanent employees.”


IVERMECTIN


Dzhanova, Yelena. A Covid-19 patient tried to sneak ivermectin into Canadian hospital by hiding it inside stuffed animal.

2022 Jan 8 Business Insider US


VACCINES

Anti-Vaxxers


Ash, Sebastien. Germany vows to 'defend itself' as police raid anti-vaxxers.

2021 Dec 15 IOL

“Germany vowed Wednesday to "defend itself" against radicalised anti-vaccination groups after police launched raids in response to death threats against a top politician backing decisive measures to fight the pandemic.”


Booster Dose


SAHPRA approval of second/booster dose of the COVID-19 Vaccine Janssen. 23 December 2021.


Mandatory Vaccinations


Sidimba, Loyiso. Constitutional Court could have final say on mandatory Covid-19 vaccination.

2022 Jan 6 IOL

“The Constitutional Court (ConCourt) has been approached to urgently decide whether or not the implementation of mandatory Covid-19 vaccines is ultra vires (beyond the powers) and derogates non-derogable constitutional rights.

The non-profit organisation, the National Black Consumer Council (NBCC), which says it is not anti-vaccine but pro-choice, has filed an urgent application at the apex court and has also issued a stern warning to companies forcing their employees to get vaccinated.”


Saftu joins business in seeking declaratory order on mandatory vaccinations.

2021 Dec 14 The Citizen

“The South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) wants a declaratory order on Covid-19 mandatory vaccinations amid disputes and confusion over the matter. Mandatory vaccinations have been making waves across the country, prompting some to seek clarity from the Constitutional Court (ConCourt) via a declaratory order on the legality of this move.”


Novak Djokovic Matter


Australian judge orders Djokovic be released from immigration detention – now ‘stakes have risen’.

2021 Jan 10 Daily Maverick

“An Australian judge ruled on Monday that Novak Djokovic be released from immigration detention immediately, finding the government's decision to revoke the tennis star’s visa to enter the country was ‘unreasonable’…. His lawyers argued that a recent Covid-19 infection qualified Djokovic for the medical exemption from a requirement for non-Australian citizens entering the country to be double vaccinated.

The Australian government, however, had argued non-citizens had no right of guaranteed entry to Australia and questioned his claimed exemption.”


Tests


Daniel. Luke. SA is looking into scrapping PCR tests for vaccinated visitors – or allowing cheaper tests.

2022 Jan 11 Business Insider SA


Competition Tribunal. Tribunal confirms Pathcare, Lancet, Ampath consent agreements to reduce prices for Covid-19 rapid antigen tests. 23 December 2021.

“Three of South Africa’s leading private pathology laboratories, namely: Drs Dietrich, Voigt, Mia & Partners and Dr WJH Vermaak Incorporated (“PathCare”); Drs Mauff AC & Partners t/a Lancet Laboratories (“Lancet”); and Drs Du Buisson, Kramer, Swart, Bouwer Incorporated t/a Ampath (“Ampath”) have agreed to immediately reduce their prices for COVID-19 rapid antigen tests to a maximum of R150 (including VAT) for a two year period.”


Download the .pdf version of the Covid-19 Regulatory Update 15 December 2021 - 11 January 2022 here below.



15Dec2021 to 11Jan2022PDF
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Date posted: 11 January 2022







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