This summary covers a few important provisions from the directions issued by the Minister.

On 25 May 2020, the Minister of Health, in terms of regulation 10(1)(b) of the Regulations issued in terms of section 27(2) of the Disaster Management Act, 2002 (Act No. 57 of 2002), provided amendments to the directions issued on 8 April 2020 to address, prevent and combat the spread pf COVID-19 in South Africa.

On 17 July 2020, the Minister issued further directions in terms of regulation 4(1)(a) of the Regulations published in terms of section 27(2) of the Disaster Management Act, 2002, to further detail the measures to be in place and guidelines on the movements of persons in and out the Republic.

Below we summarise a few important provisions from the directions issued by the Minister.

Persons Entering and Exiting the Republic

The Minister has prescribed, in terms of paragraph 16, that all persons exiting the Republic through a point of entry must be subjected to screening. Where it is found that a person has an elevated temperature or symptoms consistent with COVID-19 they must be subjected to a medical examination. In the event that it is found pursuant to testing, that a person has contracted COVID-19 they may be placed under mandatory isolation. Any person that has been placed under isolation, as mentioned, may be permitted to self-isolate at their own private residence if they comply with the criteria set out in the directives.

All persons entering the Republic must be subjected to screening at the point of entry and may be placed under mandatory quarantine for a minimum period of 14 days and may be permitted to self-quarantine at a place that complies with the criteria for self-quarantine and self-isolation set out below.

A person who wishes to be placed under self-quarantine, or their employer, must submit a written application, 72 hours prior to the intended date of travel, to the Director-General: Health to obtain approval. The directions list necessary documents that are to be presented to the Director-General in order to obtain approval.

Further, the Director-General may exempt the following categories of persons from the requirement for quarantine where they have been subjected to screening at a point of entry and where necessary, medical examination and daily monitoring by a medical officer is conducted:

  1. Persons arriving in the country to attend the funeral of an immediate family member;
  2. Persons who, for medical reasons, are unable to undergo quarantine;
  3. Cross border truck drivers; and
  4. Commuting cross border school learners, students, educators and persons transporting them.

Note, that persons referred to in (1.) and (2.) above must submit a written request to the Director-General with supporting documentation prior to written approval, for an exemption from quarantine, being granted.

Costs of Quarantine

Paragraph 18(1) of the directions provides that where exceptional circumstances make it necessary for the mandatory quarantine or isolation of a person entering the Republic to take place in manner which involves the incurring of additional costs beyond those ordinarily incurred as a result of mandatory quarantine or isolation, the Director-General may direct that such person, or their employer, is to pay the additional costs incurred.

If an employer wishes to have their employees in quarantine or isolation facilities of the employers' choice, the employer must pay all the costs incurred.

It is crucial that where a person is to be quarantined or isolated the facilities must adhere to the criteria provided in terms of these directions.

Criteria for self-quarantine and self-isolation

In order to qualify for self-quarantine or self-isolation, the applicant must have the following in place:

  • Separate well ventilated bedroom with a bathroom and toilet, or a residence that is not shared with persons who are not subject to quarantine;
  • Meals served in the room in disposable utensils that are separate and are washed properly, if there are persons who are not subject to quarantine;
  • Support from friends or family that can facilitate the drop off of food and medicine at the gate if they are not able to make use of online shopping facilities and contactless deliveries;
  • Thermometer that will allow the person to measure their temperature daily;
  • Access to the internet and a phone that allows the daily reporting of symptoms;
  • Access to a private physician that they can contact should they be in need of medical advice or care; and
  • A contact number where they can be reached during the period of self-quarantine or self-isolation.

Aircrafts, Ships, and Trucks

The Minister has detailed further guidelines and measures (in terms of paragraph 20,22, 23,24,25,26,27 and 28 of the directions) that require the screening, monitoring and quarantine of persons operating or travelling on international and local aircrafts, cargo and fishing vessels, maritime and cross border truck operators and stipulate how they are to be implemented.

Extension of registrations

The Minister has provided, in terms of paragraph 30, that a food fortification mix manufacturer, supplier or an importer who is required to register in terms of the Regulations Relating to the Fortification of Certain Foodstuffs and whose registration has expired or will expire during the period of the national state of disaster is deemed to be registered for the duration of the national state of disaster or pending the conduct of an audit.

Originally published 24 July 2020.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.