OFFICIAL GOVERNMENT REGULATIONS AND GUIDELINES ON COVID-19

All official government regulations and guidelines are available at https://www.gov.za/coronavirus/guidelines

Amendments Covid-19 Temporary UIF employee/employer relief scheme & additional information

SA COVID-19 Relief Schemes Summaries

Collated version of Temporary Relief Scheme-Original issued 26 March & Amended 8 April

8 April Amendment to temporary relief scheme

The amended directions in 3.8.1 and 3.8.2 state that if you are a party to a collective agreement through a bargaining council, then you must work through the bargaining council when applying for the UIF temporary relief scheme. This restriction is however only in place if an agreement exists between the UIF and the bargaining council.

 

Resources

SA’s COVID-19 epidemic – Trends & Next steps | Prepared on 13 April 2020 by Salim S. Abdool Karim, FRS

Tackling COVID-19 in Africa | An unfolding health and economic crisis that demands bold action
By Kartik Jayaram, Acha Leke, Amandla Ooko-Ombaka, and Ying Sunny Sun

International Monetary Fund – World Economic Outlook – April 2020

Regulations and amendments

Government Gazette – 17 August 2020 – Determination of Alert Level 

Covid 19 directions for recycling of waste 14 May 2020 – Amended regulations and directions regarding the recycling of waste

Amended regulations – 29 April 2020

Consolidated version of the Disaster Management Regulations up to 16 April and excluding 20 April’s single amendment on hot food. 

Amended regulations as gazetted on 26 March 2020.

National Crime Combatting Forum (NCCF) – Supplementary instruction 5

Amendments to regulations – 2 April 2020

Revised regulations from the Minister or Transport – these give effect to the SA Maritime Safety Association’s letter and which declare that ports are now open for all cargo

Collation of the directions and amendments thereto issued for sea ports

Amended Regulations – 16 April 2020

COVID-19 and packaging

The trouble with fighting an invisible enemy is precisely that – you can’t see it. And when that same enemy is highly contagious – and potentially on any surface you touch – it’s easy to see why people are worried about contracting the virus that causes Covid-19 from packaged goods.

However, leading international health organisations like the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) say there isn’t cause for concern, because the main way the virus is transmitted, is via human contact – specifically having an infected person sneeze or cough on you.

According to the CDC, “It may be possible that a person can get Covid-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.”

And while it is possible to contract the virus by touching, for example, a doorknob or lift button that many other people are touching, the virus doesn’t survive as well on surfaces as it does once it’s found a new human host.

A small study, published as a research letter in the New England Journal of Medicine (“Aerosol and Surface Stability of SARS-CoV-2 as Compared with SARS-CoV-1”, 17 March 2020) recently looked at how the virus survives on plastic, stainless steel, copper and cardboard.

The virus was not detectable on copper after four hours, on stainless steel and plastic after 72 hours, and on cardboard, no viable SARS-CoV-2 – the virus that causes Covid-19 – was measured after 24 hours – and that’s under completely unvarying laboratory conditions.

What does that mean for you – and for the packages you’re handling at the grocery store, or receiving via post or courier?

Here are some answers from the CDC and WHO.

  1. Is it safe to handle package from an area where there are Covid-19 infections?
  2. Yes. The package will have moved and travelled over enough time, and been exposed to different conditions and temperatures, so the risk of being infected is low.
  3. Can I catch the virus via food products or packaging?
  4. In all likelihood, no. The risk is very low, because the coronavirus that causes Covid-19 doesn’t survive well on surfaces, especially surfaces like plastic and cardboard that have been shipped over a period of days or weeks, whether at room temperature or colder temperatures in the case of refrigerated and frozen foods.
  5. Should I be taking additional measures to sterilise or sanitise to reduce the risk of bringing the virus into my home via food or food packaging?
  6. The CDC says that currently, there is no evidence of food or food packaging being associated with transmission of Covid-19 because the main way the virus spreads is person to person, as well as the poor survivability of these coronaviruses on surfaces.

The bottom line is that whether you’re going to the supermarket, or receiving a package at home, your main goal should be to avoid physical contact with other human beings. That means requesting contactless delivery from post carriers or couriers, washing your hands frequently, and for the recommended 20 seconds minimum each time, especially after you’ve been out or handled anything you haven’t cleaned yourself.

Wash your hands, don’t touch your face, keep your distance – those are the most important principles to keep yourself and the greater community safe from contracting Covid-19.