People are still required to wear a mask in indoor public spaces and on public transport.

This was one of the main aspects of the amended COVID-19 regulations published by Health Minister, Joe Phaahla on Wednesday.

While the 30-day set of transitional rules — put in place after the end of the National State of Disaster on Covid-19 — was meant lapse at midnight, Phaahla has extended the period until July.

As before, all gatherings are limited to 50-percent of normal occupancy, and no more than one-thousand people may gather indoors — unless proof of vaccination or a negative Covid-19 test can be presented.

Meanwhile, The World Health Organisation’s chief, Tedros Ghebreyesus, says two new Omicron sub-variants are driving an increase in new COVID-19 cases in South Africa.

“The South African scientists who identified Omicron late last year, have now reported two more Omicron sub-variants, BA.4 and BA.5, [which] are the reason for a spike in cases in South Africa.”

Ghebreyesus has stressed the importance of testing to monitor virus mutations and the spread of infections.

He’s told a press conference that the sub-lineages have acquired a few additional mutations, that may impact their characteristics.

Ghebreyesus adds that COVID-19 has hit South Africa harder than any other country on the continent.

“It’s too soon to know whether these new sub-variants can cause more severe disease than other Omicron sub-variants, but early data suggests vaccination remains protective against severe disease and death.”


*This article has been updated to include the most recent information.