New COVID-19 rules and restrictions

Health Minister Dr Joe Phaahla has replaced South Africa’s transitional measures for the COVID-19 pandemic with gazetted changes to the National Health Act. Minister Phaahla has issued a media statement to provide information about the process South Africans can follow to participate in public consultation on the regulations. The information is available here.

The new COVID-19 rules, which are currently in effect, are not regarded as transitional measures and are therefore not subject to an end date. The Health Minister can decide to lift these restrictions when he no longer deems them necessary.

Masks are still compulsory

Everybody must still wear face masks in indoor public spaces. This regulation includes public transport.


All gatherings are permitted at 50% of a venue’s capacity, provided that:

  • Attendees are fully vaccinated and in possession of a valid vaccination certificate; and
  • Unvaccinated attendees are in possession of a negative COVID-19 test obtained no longer than 72 hours before the gathering date.

Alternatively, gatherings of unvaccinated attendees and/or attendees without negative tests are limited to 1 000 persons or fewer for indoor venues and 2 000 persons for outdoor venues. If the venue is too small to admit the mentioned numbers – including a one-metre social distancing space for each person – no more than 50% of the venue’s capacity may be used and attendance is subject to strict adherence to all health protocols and social distancing measures.


Travel into South Africa is permitted, provided that:

  • Fully vaccinated individuals produce a valid vaccination certificate on arrival at any SA border; and
  • Unvaccinated individuals provide a valid certificate confirming a negative COVID-19 test, as recognised by the World Health Organization, which was obtained no longer than 72 hours before the date of travel. An unvaccinated individual may also provide a negative antigen test result, provided that the test was taken no longer than 48 hours before the date of travel.

Outbound travellers from South Africa must comply with all the requirements and regulations of their destination.

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