COVID-19: NATIONAL LOCKDOWN REGULATIONS AND WHAT THIS MEANS

On Monday 23 March 2002, South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that the country will be in a national lockdown from midnight on Thursday 26 March 2020 for a period of 21 days to control the spread of COVID-19 in South Africa. During the lockdown, members of the public are expected to stay home, except under exceptional circumstances and all non-essential businesses must close.  We have summarised the most noteworthy provisions of the regulations, as published in the Government Gazette below:

RESTRICTIONS ON THE MOVEMENT OF PERSONS AND GOODS

In terms of the regulations, every person must remain in his or her place of residence unless it is absolutely necessary to leave the residence for purposes of performing an essential service, obtaining an essential good or service, collecting a social grant or seeking emergency, life-saving or chronical medical attention. The regulations prohibit every gathering, except for funerals (attendance of which is limited to 50 people), and movement between provinces or between metropolitan and district areas is prohibited. All businesses and entities which provide non-essential goods or services are required to cease operations during the lockdown. Retail shops selling essential goods are prohibited from selling any other goods, including alcohol and cigarettes.

CLOSING OF BORDERS

Furthermore, in terms of the regulations, all borders of the Republic are closed during the period of lockdown, except for transportation of fuel and essential goods. The Minister of Home Affairs, or  a person designated by him or her, may allow a person who requires emergency medical attention for a life-threatening condition to enter the Republic. All foreign tourists who arrived in the Republic prior to, or after, the lockdown and who remain in the Republic, must remain in their place of temporary residence in the Republic for the duration of the lockdown and may be subject to screening for COVID-19 and be quarantined or isolated as may be required.

PROHBITION OF PUBLIC TRANSPORT

All long distance and inter-provincial services are prohibited for the duration of the lockdown. The transportation of passengers by buses is prohibited except when the bus is used for purposes of transporting passengers rendering essential services and this is limited to operate between the hours of 05:00AM to 09:00AM and in the afternoon between 16:00PM to 20:00PM. All passenger vehicles are limited to carry 1 passenger whilst minibuses which are licensed to carry up to 8 passengers shall only carry a maximum of 3 passengers. All minibuses must reduce their seating capacity by 50%.

RESOURCES OF THE STATE DURING LOCKDOWN

During the period of the lockdown, a person refusing to be evacuated from any place subject to lockdown, may be evacuated by an enforcement officer to a temporary shelter if such action is necessary for the preservation of life. The State must identify temporary shelters that meet the necessary hygiene standards for homeless people as well as temporary sites for quarantine and self-isolation for people who cannot isolate or quarantine in their homes. No person is entitled to compensation for any loss or damage arising out of any bona fide act or omission by an enforcement officer under these regulations.

 

NO REFUSALS

Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19, is suspected of having COVID-19 or who has been in contact with someone who is infected with the virus may not refuse to be admitted for a medical examination or into a medical facility and cannot refuse treatment or quarantine.

 

OFFENCES AND PENALTIES

Any person who is found to contravene the regulations and is found guilty of such an offence is liable to a fine or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months or to a fine and imprisonment. It is also illegal for anyone to intentionally spread fake news about COVID-19, those infected with the virus or government efforts to combat the virus. Furthermore, a person who intentionally exposes someone else to COVID-19 could also be charged with assault, attempted murder or murder.

UPDATES:

The Government has continued to issue regulations and we will keep you informed as soon as possible with regards to any amendments or additions to the regulations as listed above. For more information on the above, please feel free to contact us at (021) 100 45 45 or at info@debeerattorneys.com. We implore everyone to abide by these regulations and we wish you and your families the best of health, care and safety during this period.

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