DURBAN – According to new regulations published in the Government Gazette, people returning to South Africa from abroad may now apply to self-isolate for a fixed period rather than staying in quarantine facilities provided by the state.
The regulations published on Friday, state that returning South Africans who wish to self-isolate, have to apply to the Director-General of Health for the necessary consent at least 72 hours before their journey begins. Applications have to include proof of suitable premises for self-isolation, contact details during the isolation period and the person’s itinerary for the preceding 30 days.
“Permission is still subject to the discretion of the officials concerned. If consent for self-isolation is refused, the person will have to remain in a state facility at the state’s expense,” said Sue-Ann de Wet, AfriForum’s manager of diaspora liaison.
The organisation says its struggle of four months against compulsory quarantine in state facilities has finally borne fruit. However, De Wet warned those coming to SA that consent for self-isolation was not guaranteed and that the conditions for self-isolation as set out in the regulations applied.
Alternatively, the person must have a residence that is not shared with people who are not subject to quarantine. They must also have a thermometer that will enable them to measure their temperature daily.
They must have access to the internet and a phone that allows the daily reporting of symptoms. They must also have access to a private physician they can contact should they be in need of medical advice and care.
Government has also revised the recommended isolation period for patients who have tested positive for Covid-19, from 14 to 10 days. Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said the recommendation to reduce the number of days in isolation is based on evidence that most patients with a mild Covid-19 infection continue to shed the virus from their upper airways for approximately seven to 12 days.
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