Patients with life-threatening diseases are now allowed to enter South Africa or go abroad for medical treatment.
This is one of several revised regulations announced by Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi, as South Africa marks day seven of its 21 day national lockdown aimed at slowing the spread of novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).
Repatriation of South African citizens will be permitted but screening for COVID-19 will be done before repatriation. Those who test positive will not be allowed to travel.
“Borders are closed for people but now the amendment is the Minister, or a person designated by him, may allow a person to enter or exit South Africas for emergency medical attention for a life threatening condition,” said Motsoaledi.
He was part of a briefing in Tshwane by Ministers representing the Coronavirus National Command Council.
South Africa now has 1 462 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with five recorded deaths. Two more deaths are yet to be confirmed.
President Cyril Ramaphosa declared the global pandemic a national state of disaster.
On Thursday, Motsoaledi said some regulations would be reviewed not to prejudice those seeking essential services.
“A person seeking urgent medical attention for a life-threatening condition may be allowed to enter or exit the country, provided they’re given permission by the Minister of Home Affairs or the person designated by him,” Motsoaledi said.
In addition, individuals may be permitted to leave the country. “This means South Africans in other countries can come through the borders – provided they’re given permission and people who want to exit may be allowed,” Motsoaledi said, adding permission was necessary.
Anyone who comes into the country will be subjected to quarantine, Motsoaledi stressed.
Normal movementsare still limited.
“People cannot move in and out. There have to be special arrangements,” the Minister said.
Government has given fuel and food cargo the green light to cross borders. Previously, only essential goods were allowed.
Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu disputed criticism government is making an about-turn on its strict national lockdown regulations to curb the spread of COVID-19.
He said they’ve reviewed some measures because they’re a “listening and a caring” government.
Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma reiterated Mthembu’s views, saying they cannot satisfy every citizen but cannot turn a blind eye to genuine concerns.