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New health laws are being drafted to end the catastrophic situation



South Africa stands poised to get its life back as the country prepares to get away from the national catastrophic state and treat Covid as just another contagious disease.

But, experts say, it will be necessary to ensure that new health regulations are as effective as changing people’s behavior through harsh measures under the disaster laws.

It’s been 700 days since a state of disaster was declared in 2020, but the numbers – of infections but, more importantly, of hospitalizations and deaths – show that the disease is much less of a threat than before.

dr. Elize Webb, an associate professor of health systems and public health at the University of Pretoria, said it was time for the country to return to normal because both the Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer vaccines had made a difference.

“What’s important is to remember that vaccine uptake in the older age groups that are known to be more at risk has been quite good,” she said.

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“Hospital admissions are now slightly lower, which means there is no major stress for hospitals and they can resume normal activities as before.”

Health Minister Joe Phaahla said on Thursday that his ministry was changing the regulations of the National Health Act so that the country could get out of a state of disaster.

“We hope there will be a national meeting of the coronavirus command board next week where alternative regulations can be presented.” Phaahla said the health regulations would ensure there were adequate protective measures in place to protect the Disaster Management Act

The regulations would cover surveillance and control of notifiable diseases, public health measures at points of entry, management of human remains and environmental health. Health department spokesman Foster Mohale said the changes relate to regulating and managing Covid and other future pandemics.

The national disaster state cannot end if there is no law that will do what the Disaster Management Act did.

[email protected] Vanir-exodus.co.za

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