The increasing numbers of COCID-19 infections and fatalities as well as the appearance of the mutated strain 501.V2, which spreads 70-times faster than the original virus have prompted government and with them the Coronavirus Command Council to act.
State of Disaster
Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has extended the national state of disaster by another month. Government declared a national state of disaster under Section 27(1) and Section 27(2) of the Disaster Management Act on 15 March 2020 in response to the coronavirus pandemic. While the state of disaster was originally set to lapse on 15 June, the act provides that it can be extended by the COGTA minister by notice in the gazette for one month at a time before it lapses. In a gazette published on Wednesday (13 January), Dlamini-Zuma said that the extension takes into account the need to continue augmenting the existing legislation and contingency arrangements undertaken by organs of state to address the impact of the disaster. The state of disaster is now set to lapse on 15 February – nearly a full year since it was officially introduced.
In a further government notice by COGTA, the rules and regulations of the current adjusted Alert Level 3 have been refined and amended again. The main regulation is the extension of curfew whereby everybody is confined to its place of residence between the hours of 21h00 and 5h00. In this regard, restaurants and other remaining sectors close at 20h00 to enable the return of patrons and staff to their homes in time.
Furthermore, Minister of Home Affairs Aaron Motsoaledi together with COGTA decided to discontinue most services of Home Affairs, which will affect the issuing of Smart ID and unabridged Marriage Certificates and will also extend the validity of all (sic!) visa expiring during the Disaster State until 31 March 2021.
Travel & Borders
At the same time all land borders in South Africa have now been closed again unless you are returning home or are on an essential service mission. Remarkably enough, the flights nationally and internationally are still possible, but conditions apply for international travel with regard to the presence of a negative COVID PCR Test Result.