COVID-19: Health Regulations Scrapped

The Minister of Health, last night, repealed all the Covid-19 health regulations that were still applicable.

Therefore, mask-wearing in its entirety, limitations on gatherings, including proof of vaccination and/or negative PCR tests, and border controls for people entering the country, have all been lifted.

We are in no sense grateful towards Government for this reprieve. What they have done today is merely the return of stolen goods; the freedom they are returning should never have been taken away in the first place. There has never been any justification for this. They are also not returning it willingly; in order to avoid further embarrassment, they simply had no other choice.

It should be noted that the draconian regulations, that accompany the proposed amendments to the National Health Act, which include the right of Government to quarantine individuals, seemingly at a whim, are still out for public comment and may still be introduced at a later stage. Many organisations, including NEASA, stand ready to challenge this, should it be implemented.

The Code of Practice: Managing Covid-19 in the Workplace, 2022 is currently still applicable. This Code, purportedly, permits employers to enforce vaccine mandates in the workplace. In light of the latest developments, it will become exceedingly more difficult for employers to lawfully enforce such a mandate.

NEASA has challenged the legality of this Code in the High Court. We are awaiting a court date.

We will keep members abreast of developments in this regard.