Health dept dismisses claims of govt going ahead with new health rules, mandatory vaccines



The Department of Health has dismissed messages circulating on social media about the new proposed Covid-19 rules and mandatory vaccinations as fakes news.

Messages saying that the government is moving ahead with the new health regulations and mandatory vaccination policy next month has been making rounds.

But the department has labelled these claims as fake news.

New Covid-19 regulations

The fake news comes after the department published the draft regulations this week as government aims to move the country out of the national State of Disaster.

The proposed regulations will be part of the National Health Act.

The regulations will ensure there are enough protective measures in order to manage the current Covid-19 pandemic as well as future outbreaks.

The proposals include a limit on the number of unvaccinated people for indoor activities and, that the mask mandate for indoor gatherings stay in place. 

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Government will still have the discretion to decide on other restrictions such as curfew, sport activities, lockdowns, economic activities, the sale of alcohol, among others.

The draft rules also lay out the requirements for self-isolation, as opposed to being directed to a government facility, among others.

South African citizens have 30 days – until 15 April, which is the day the State of Disaster will come to an end following the latest extension – to share their thoughts on the regulations.

Code of Good Practice

While the conversation around mandatory vaccinations has not been well received by some South Africans, the Department of Employment and Labour this week published a new Code of Good Practice for Covid-19 and vaccinations issues in the workplace.

The new code was gazetted on Tuesday, and has since sparked a debate.

The code states that all employers must take measures to determine the vaccination status of their workers.

“In giving effect to this Code, an employer may require its employees to disclose their vaccination status and to produce a vaccination certificate,” the document states.

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“If an employee refuses to be vaccinated, the employer must counsel the employee and, if requested, allow the employee to seek guidance from a health and safety representative, worker representative or trade union official.

“[The employer must also] take steps to reasonably accommodate the employee in a position that does not require the employee to be vaccinated,” it added.

Meanwhile, the department has urged citizens to get jabbed or boosted to build up immunity against Covid-19 infection. 

People who received the Johnson and Johnson (J&J) single-dose vaccine are now eligible to receive a second booster jab.

Just over 33 million vaccine doses have been administered in South Africa since the launch of the vaccination programme last year.