• Adami Geldenhuys

Covid-19 Regulatory Update 19 to 25 January 2022



Highlights in this edition include the:

  • calls on ending the national state of disaster;

  • judgment setting aside the admission of guilt fine paid by an employee of an essential service provider for travelling with an unsigned permit;

  • approval of mandatory vaccination by the Austrian Parliament;

  • and news on the Covid-19 social grant.


COMPETITION

COURTS

COVID-19 CURBS

ECONOMY

EDUCATION / SCHOOLS

EMPLOYMENT

LOCKDOWN CONTRAVENTIONS

MASK MANDATE

SOCIAL GRANTS

STATE OF DISASTER

TESTING

TRAVEL

VACCINES

WORLD HEALTH ORGANISATION

COMPETITION


Competition Commission v Ampath (COVCO140Dec21) (12 December 2021)

Consent order – Agreement to reduce prices for COVID-19 PCR tests – Confirmed.


Competition Commission v Lancet Laboratories (COVCO141Dec21) (12 December 2021)

Consent order – Agreement to reduce prices for COVID-19 PCR tests – Confirmed.


Competition Commission v PathCare (COVCO142Dec21) (15 December 2021)

Consent order – Agreement to reduce prices for COVID-19 PCR tests – Confirmed.


COURTS


Brown, Julian. COVID in South Africa shows the limits of using courts to fight political battles.

2022 Jan 24 The Conversation


COVID-19 CURBS


Germany extends COVID curbs as infections threaten infrastructure.

2022 Jan 25 SABC News

“Germany on Monday extended its current pandemic measures as the experts panel appointed by the government has warned the fast spreading Omicron coronavirus variant could bring critical infrastructure in Europe’s biggest economy to a breaking point. Chancellor Olaf Scholz said he had agreed with the heads of the federal states to extend restrictions such as limiting private gatherings to 10 ten people and requiring proof of booster vaccination or a negative test at restaurants.”


ECONOMY


Roelf, Wendell. Government gets R11.4bn World Bank loan to bolster Covid-19 recovery efforts.

2022 Jan 21 TimesLive


Webinar Invitation


Role and mandate of DFI's in stimulating economic growth and development post COVID-19 presented by Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr Inc

“Please join CDH as they discuss the role and mandate of Development Financial Institutions (DFI) in stimulating economic growth and development post COVID-19.”

DATE: Tuesday, 8 February 2022

TIME: 09h00 – 10h30

RSVP: https://bit.ly/3nK0w73

For more information contact cdhevents@cdhlegal.com


EDUCATION / SCHOOLS


Shepherd, Debra Lynne and Mohohlwane, Nompumelelo. How COVID is affecting school attendance in South Africa: piecing together the puzzle.

2022 Jan 18 The Conversation


Shepherd, Debra and Mohohlwane, Nompumelelo. A generational catastrophe: COVID-19 and children’s access to education and food in South Africa.

2021 Dec 22 Development Southern Africa


EMPLOYMENT


See also: Vaccines: Mandatory Vaccinations


Mahomed, Imraan and Arends, Storm. Side hustles – Working towards workplace discipline.

2022 Jan 17 Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr

“With the ravages of COVID-19 since early 2020, has come a rise in employees in full time employment taking on a ‘side hustle’ to supplement income. Further to this, remote working provides employees with a great opportunity to engage in secondary jobs, especially where once being at the office may have been a hindrance.”


Tshoose, C.I. Dismissal arising from flouting COVID-19 health and safety protocols: Eskort Ltd v Stuurman Mogotsi [2021] ZALCJHB 53.

2021 42(3) Obiter p692

“[T]he objectives of this case note are twofold. First, it examines the parameters under which the employer can discipline an employee for flouting the COVID-19 safety protocols and regulations. Secondly, it also considers the extent to which the employer can take appropriate action against an employee who wilfully refuses to obey the lawful and reasonable instructions of the employer during COVID-19 times.”


Webinar Invitation


Reflecting on 2021 and navigating 2022 presented by Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr

“It is a given that COVID-19 will continue to disrupt the workplace in 2022. Join CDH Employment Law experts as they reflect on the impact of COVID-19 on the workplace and discuss how to navigate the year ahead as businesses attempt to clear a path to some 'normality'. We ask: is 'normality' possible after COVID-19 becomes endemic, and what does that look like for employers and employees?”

Date: Thursday, 3 February 2022

Time: 09h00 - 10h15 (CAT)

RSVP: https://bit.ly/3IfoS0d

For more information contact cdhevents@cdhlegal.com


LOCKDOWN CONTRAVENTIONS


Makhuvha v Minister of Justice and Correctional Services (77433/2018) [2021] ZAGPPHC (December 2021)

Application to set aside conviction and sentence in terms of s 57(7) of Criminal Procedure Act 51 of 1977 – employee of essential service provider arrested during severe lockdown as result of unsigned permit document by Whatsapp – admission of guilt fine paid – admission of guilt fine ordered to be set aside, conviction record to be removed and applicant to be refunded.


MASK MANDATE


Ellis, Estelle. Mask mandate to remain in place — Department of Health.

2022 Jan 18 Daily Maverick

“The National Department of Health confirmed on Tuesday that the mandatory wearing of masks in public spaces and on public transport will remain in place.”


Trotta, Daniel and Brooks, Brad. New York judge strikes down state mask mandate. (United States of America)

2022 Jan 25 Reuters

“Judge Thomas Rademaker of New York State Supreme Court on Long Island found that the state legislature last year curbed any governor's ability to issue decrees, such as a mask mandate, amid a declared state of emergency.

It was latest setback for executive branch officials at state and federal levels. Earlier this month, the U.S. Supreme Court blocked President Joe Biden's vaccination-or-testing mandate for large businesses. A judge in Texas last week ruled that Biden could not require federal employees to be vaccinated.”


SOCIAL GRANTS


Bisseker, Claire. Tax hikes on the cards if government cave in on Covid-19 grant.

2021 Jan 25 Business Live


Civil groups meet Ramaphosa in hopes of making R350 grant permanent & higher.

2022 Jan 24 EWN

“According to Black Sash, in the absence of the grant, poverty would have been 5% higher among the poorest households.”


Ramaphosa holds meetings around new basic income grant for South Africa – and extending R350 Covid grant.

2022 Jan 21 BusinessTech


STATE OF DISASTER


Calls grow for President Ramaphosa to end national state of disaster.

2022 Jan 25 SABCNews


Mosia, Joseph. Government examining whether to end coronavirus State of National Disaster: Ramaphosa.

2022 Jan 19 SABCNews

“President Cyril Ramaphosa says government is examining whether to end the coronavirus State of National Disaster.

Ramaphosa says now that the infection rate has come down and government, through the National Coronavirus Command Council, is looking into whether alternative methods can be used to manage the pandemic.”


Venter, Zelda. Court to hear bid to end state of disaster.

2022 Jan 19 IOL

“Trade union Solidarity as well as AfriForum will approach the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, in a bid to end the state of disaster. The Solidarity Movement, including Solidarity and AfriForum, said it took a stand yesterday by declaring that no further reasons existed for the current state of disaster, which has been in place for about 22 months, to remain in force.”


TESTING


Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA): HPRA issues safety notice confirming recall of two batches of Genrui SARS-CoV-2 Antigen Self-Test. 18 January 2022. (Ireland)

“The HPRA has today issued a safety notice to raise awareness of a product recall of two batches of the Genrui SARS-CoV-2 Rapid Antigen Self-Test. This recall action follows on from the voluntary suspension from sale of the Genrui self-test by retailers in Ireland on 5 January, after the HPRA received in excess of 1,350 reports from consumers of false positive results associated with its use.”


TRAVEL


See also: World Health Organisation


Mexico removes all COVID entry barriers.

2022 Jan 19 Travel News


VACCINES


Approval Process


Prinsen, Larisse. (Don’t) hold your breath: The South African COVID-19 vaccine approval process and regulatory framework.

2021 42(3) Obiter p685

“The back-and-forth roll-out of vaccines in South Africa is alarming, does little to instil a sense of trust in the powers-that-be and adds to the general confusion and concern regarding a vaccine against Covid-19. To say the least, the current situation is less than ideal. Although we might still need to hold our breath, behind a mask, a little longer, the author feels somewhat assured knowing that South Africa has a well-established procedure for the approval of new medications, although it is not exactly swift. The aim of this piece is therefore explanatory in nature as it seeks to set out the process whereby new medicines are approved and registered in South Africa.”


Mandatory Vaccination


Austria parliament approves mandatory COVID-19 vaccination.

2022 Jan 20 eNCA

“Austria's parliament on Thursday approved making Covid-19 vaccinations mandatory for adults from next month, becoming the first European country to do so despite a wave of protests opposing the measure.

Tens of thousands have demonstrated against mandatory vaccination in regular weekend rallies since the measure was announced in November in a bid to drive up the country's vaccination rate.”


Department of Health. Health responds to reports on Vaccination and Women’s Health. 24 January 2022.

“The Department of Health has noted with concern the public statements made by individuals and stakeholders including the Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) which issued a media statement on 17 January 2022, titled “Warning Against Imposing Mandatory Covid-19 Vaccination on Employees and Students”.

The Department respects the freedom of expression by any individual or organisation as enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic. However, we believe such freedom should be exercised responsibly to impart information or ideas to empower our people to make well informed health choices during these difficult times.”


Dhai, Ames [et al.] The SA Gender Commission’s statement against mandatory vaccinations is irresponsible and misleading.

2022 Jan 23 Daily Maverick

“Scientists call on the Gender Commission to withdraw its statement, engage with the relevant institutions, societies and experts and replace it with one that truly addresses Covid-19 reproductive health concerns.

On 16 January, the Commission for Gender Equality issued a statement titled “Gender Commission on imposing mandatory Covid-19 vaccination”, in which it noted a study published in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology earlier in the month that found vaccines cause a small, but temporary change in menstrual cycle length. In the article, the commission misinterprets the paper and also fails to consider the many other harmful impacts associated with Covid-19 disease and reproductive health that make immunisation a priority for women of childbearing age.


Landmark legal challenge against mandatory Covid vaccines in South Africa.

2022 Jan 19 BusinessTech

“Trade union Solidarity has launched a legal challenge against the University of the Free State (UFS) over its planned mandatory Covid-19 vaccine policy for staff and students.

The union said it also plans to file several other court cases regarding mandatory vaccinations in the workplace. According to Solidarity, its first case against the Small Enterprise Employers of South Africa (SEESA) will be heard in the Labour Court in Johannesburg on 27 January.”


Medical Exemptions


Ontario court orders doctors to comply with COVID-19 investigation. (Canada)

2022 Jan 24 The Star

“Three doctors are being ordered to comply with an investigation by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario for alleged misconduct including providing illegitimate medical exemptions for COVID-19 vaccines.”


Production


The Presidency. President Cyril Ramaphosa officiates opening of NantSA vaccine production campus, 19 January 2022.


Restrictions


U.S. FDA to restrict use of Regeneron, Lilly COVID antibody drugs.

2022 Jan 25 SABCNews


WORLD HEALTH ORGANISATION


World Health Organisation. Statement on the tenth meeting of the International Health Regulations (2005) Emergency Committee regarding the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. 19 January 2022.

Extract from Temporary Recommendations to States Parties:

“Continue to use evidence-informed public health and social measures, therapeutics, diagnostics, and vaccines for COVID-19, and to share response experiences with WHO. …

Take a risk-based approach to mass gathering events by evaluating, mitigating, and communicating risks. ….

Achieve the WHO call to action to have at least 70% of all countries’ populations vaccinated by the start of July 2022 and integrate COVID-19 vaccination into routine health services. ….

Enhance surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 and continue to report to WHO to enable rapid identification, tracking, and evaluation of variants and continued monitoring of the pandemic’s evolution and its control….

Lift or ease international traffic bans as they do not provide added value and continue to contribute to the economic and social stress experienced by States Parties. ….

Do NOT require proof of vaccination against COVID-19 for international travel as the only pathway or condition permitting international travel given limited global access and inequitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines….

Recognize all vaccines that have received WHO Emergency Use Listing and all heterologous vaccine combinations as per SAGE recommendations, including in the context of international travel. …

Address community engagement and communications gaps and challenges posed by infodemics at national and local levels to reduce COVID-19 transmission, counter misinformation and threats to frontline workers, and improve COVID-19 vaccine acceptance, where applicable.



19 - 25 Jan 2022
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Date published: 25 January 2022



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