COVID-19: MKHIZE'S LATEST DIRECTIVES UNPACKED
Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has made two changes to his 3 December directive, which – among other things – requires visitors to SA to meet certain conditions and observe specific protocols while in the country. Gazetted on 15 December, the latest amendments affect airline crew and cross border freight operators, relaxing certain requirements.
More generally, since 3 December:
visitors to SA (with certain exceptions) have been required to present:
o ‘a completed traveller health questionnaire’, and
o ‘a valid negative Covid-19 polymerase chain reaction test result’ (which should not be ‘older than 72 hours from the date of departure from the country of origin’)
visitors not in possession of the required test result ‘will be subjected to antigen testing at the point of entry and may be subjected to quarantine at an approved facility at ... (their) own cost’
the following categories of visitors are exempt from the directive but must comply with Department of Home Affairs requirements (these have never been spelled out in a directive, but are summarised on the SA Government website here) (there is nevertheless no guarantee that this summary reflects all recent updates):
o daily commuters from neighbouring countries who attend or teach at schools in SA
o children below the age of five years
o cross border freight operators
o airline crew not disembarking on arrival in SA
o medical evacuation crew (subject to routine screening and testing).
In addition to affecting visitors to SA, the 3 December directive has implications for:
anyone tested Covid-19 positive who is either asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic
self-quarantine and self-isolation protocols
the families and caregivers of anyone passing away at home
transporting mortal remains
exiting SA, for whatever reason, and
the crew of cargo and passenger vessels.