Government has gazetted regulations pertaining to the once-off movement of South Africans back to their place of residence and work. Under level 4 of the lockdown, you will not be required to produce a permit to cross provincial borders as well as metropolitan and district boundaries. Minister of cooperative governance and traditional affairs Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma announced the regulations after midnight on the first day of level four of the lockdown.
In a media statement, her department says that she has in terms of the applicable Act, and after consultation with relevant Cabinet members, issued directions in the schedule relating to the once-off movement of persons in line with Regulation 16(5), which provides: “Any person who was not at their place of residence or work before the lockdown period and who could not travel between provinces, metropolitan and district areas during the lockdown, will be permitted, on a once-off basis, to return to their places of residence or work and will be required to stay in such place until the end of the Alert Level 4.”
Those who will be crossing these boundaries will need to do so between 1 and 7 May. However, the government has made it clear that the lockdown guidelines still apply and that the once-off movement is to be used responsibly.
The country has seen massive increases in screening and testing for the Coronavirus. This has resulted in significant spikes in the number of Covid-19 infections recorded. Since recording its first Coronavirus case on 5 March, South Africa now has 5647 infections confirmed. A total of 103 South African Covid-19 patients have so far died. More than a third of the infected patients have already recovered from the virus. South Africa noted a record increase in testing as well as infections on Wednesday.
Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize had advised that 11 630 had been done in 24 hours with 354 new infections recorded.
“This is the highest number of tests done in a 24 hour period, representing a 66% per cent increase relative to the previous day’s tally,” he said on Wednesday. “This is the highest number of cases in a 24-hour cycle recorded to date and represents a 73% increase relative to the day before.”
As of Thursday’s figures, new infections rose by 297. South Africa’s numbers are expected to peak in September.
Movement of people under level 4 With the risk-adjusted strategy of reopening the economy, more people will return to work on Friday 1 May with the implementation of alert level 4. Under level 4, children who had visited relatives before the lockdown would be permitted to move back home.
Dlamini-Zuma says more people would be going to work under level 4, however, she stresses that people should stay at home after knocking off.
“It’s not a licence to visit your relatives or friends. So, between 20:00 and 5:00, if you’re not having a permit to be out, you have to be at home.”
Those who work in Gauteng but live in neighbouring provinces like North West, Mpumalanga or Limpopo will be permitted to travel daily but should be in possession of a permit. However, movements between provinces will generally not be allowed under level 4.
“They’re on a different level of the infection, others have higher rates of infections and we don’t want those at a higher rate of infection to keep moving to those at a moderate rate of infection,” the minister explains.
The regulations on funerals have not changed and close relatives still need a death certificate and permission from the police station or Magistrate to attend if travelling outside of the provinces. A maximum of 50 people is allowed to attend a funeral.
The borders – sea borders, air and land ports of entry – are still closed except for goods that are arriving or leaving the country. The movement of people across borders is only allowed under exceptional circumstance for instance, if you are a South African stuck in another country.
“When they return, they must be quarantined for 14 days before they go to their families, homes or work because some will be coming from very high-risk countries where the infection is higher than it is here,” the minister details.
Because more people will be going back to work as of 1 May, rail and busses and other forms of transport will now be operated but under strict guidelines. Transportation of cargo and all agricultural products, such as wine and wool, among others, will open for exportation.
People are still barred from going to beaches, flea-markets, night clubs and parks. Hairdressers’ doors will still be closed under level 4 because of the risk, despite a lot of people asking for it. However, you can still go out and buy winter clothes, heaters and bedding to keep warm to curb the flu outbreak as winter approaches.
All South Africans are required to wear a cloth mask whenever leaving their home. It is mandatory under level 4.
By: Bradley Brizzy