Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has signed off key amendments to the Disaster Management Act in response to the outbreak of the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic.
The changes, announced on Wednesday, add new regulations setting out the expected code of conduct among those in the republic during the upcoming 21-day national lockdown, starting on Thursday midnight.
1. No person who has been confirmed as a clinical case or as a laboratory confirmed case as having contracted Covid-19, or who is suspected of having contracted Covid-19, or who has been in contact with a person who is a carrier of Covid-19, may refuse consent to:
• Submission to a medical examination, including but not limited to the taking of any bodily sample by a person authorised in law to do so;
• Admission to a health establishment or a quarantine or isolation site; or submission to mandatory prophylaxis, treatment, isolation or quarantine, or isolation in order to prevent transmission.
Dlamini-Zuma ordered that “if a person does not comply with the instruction or order of the enforcement officer, that person must be placed in isolation or quarantine for a period of 48 hours, as the case may be, pending a warrant being issued by a competent court, on application by an enforcement officer for the medical examination”.
2. A member of the provincial executive council responsible for public works must identify and make available sites to be used as isolation and quarantine facilities within each province as the need arises.
“If a person refuses to go to such a site of isolation or quarantined facility a magistrate in whose jurisdiction such a person is, an order as contemplated … must be made by that magistrate to force such a person to go to such site of isolation, quarantined facility, or medical examination”.
3. For the period of lockdown:
• Every person is confined to his or her place of residence, unless strictly for the purpose of performing an essential service, obtaining an essential good or service, collecting a social grant, or seeking emergency, life-saving, or chronic medical attention;
• Every gathering, as defined in regulation 1 is hereby prohibited, except for funerals …;
• movement between provinces is prohibited; and
• movement between the metropolitan and district areas, is prohibited.
• All businesses and other entities shall cease operations during the lockdown, save for any business or entity involved in the manufacturing, supply, or provision of an essential good or service.
• Retail shops and shopping malls must be closed, except where essential goods are sold and on condition that the person in control of the said store must put in place controls to ensure that customers keep a distance of at least one square meter from each other, and that all directions in respect of hygienic conditions and the exposure of persons to Covid-19 are adhered to.
• Retail stores selling essential goods are prohibited from selling any other goods.
• Any place not involved in the provision of an essential good or service must remain closed to all persons for the duration of the lockdown.
4. All commuter transport services including passenger rail services, bus services, taxi services, e-hailing services, maritime and air passenger transport is prohibited, except bus services, taxi services, e-hailing services and private motor vehicles for purposes of rendering essential services, obtaining essential goods, seeking medical attention, funeral services and to receive payment of grants, provided that such vehicle carries no more than 50% of the licensed capacity and all directions in respect of hygienic conditions and the limitation of exposure of persons to Covid-19 are adhered to.
5. For the period of the declaration of a lockdown, a person refusing to be evacuated from any place subject to lockdown, may be evacuated by an enforcement officer to a temporary shelter, if such action is necessary for the preservation of life.
• The State shall identify temporary shelters that meet the necessary hygiene standards for homeless people; and temporary sites for quarantine and self-isolation that meet the necessary hygiene standards for people who cannot isolate or quarantine in their homes.
6. No person is entitled to compensation for any loss or damage arising out of any bona fide action or omission by an enforcement officer under these regulations.