COVID-19 FAQ2020-04-20T08:15:09+00:00


More info about covid-19 here
Can the virus spread through food items?2020-04-20T08:03:31+00:00
The Coronaviruses is spread from person-to-person through respiratory droplets. Currently, there is no evidence to support the transmission of COVID-19 associated with food. Before preparing or eating food it is important to always rinse the food with water and wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds for general food safety.
Can I get the virus through handling or receiving packages or products?2020-04-20T08:03:08+00:00
It is possible that one may touch the SARS-CoV-2 virus while handling packages contaminated by the virus however, one may only contract the virus or be affected by it when the virus comes into contact with your mucosal membranes (mouth, tongue or nose) thus entering your body. This is not the main means of transmission. Inhaling respiratory droplets is the main way the virus spreads.

The virus does not survive well on surfaces, therefore there is a lower risk of it spreading from products or packages that are shipped or delivered over a period of time.

Does warm weather kill the virus?2020-04-20T08:02:23+00:00
The SARS-CoV-2 virus does not survive well in warmer climates. It is therefore expected to thrive in the colder winter seasons.
Who is at higher risk of getting the virus?2020-04-20T08:02:03+00:00
Those at higher risk of contracting the virus include the elderly and individuals with chronic conditions or a compromised immune system. Chronic conditions include high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer and lung disease amongst others.
What should I do if I am at higher risk of getting the virus?2020-04-20T08:01:42+00:00
If you are at higher risk of getting the virus, you should take everyday precautions to keep space between yourself and others. When you go out, try to avoid unnecessary contact, non-essential travel and exposure to others who are sick. Wash your hands often, avoid crowds and if there is an outbreak in your community, consider staying home and limiting contact to essential people.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19? Show2020-04-20T08:01:22+00:00
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, tiredness, and dry cough. Some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhoea. These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually. Some people become infected but don’t develop any symptoms and don’t feel unwell. Most people (about 80%) recover from the disease without needing special treatment. Around 1 out of every 6 people who gets COVID-19 becomes seriously ill and develops difficulty breathing. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes, are more likely to develop serious illness. People with fever, cough and difficulty breathing should seek medical attention.
What can I do to minimise the risk of infection?2020-04-20T08:01:05+00:00
The virus is very susceptible to common anti-bacterial cleaning agents such as bleach, and alcohol-based cleaners (60% volume). Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Maintain at least 1-metre distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unclean hands.
What is self-isolation?2020-04-20T08:00:44+00:00
Self-isolation is a way to keep yourself from possibly infecting others if you think you might be infected. It involves limiting contact with public places, relatives, friends, colleagues, and public transport.
I have flu like symptoms, should I get tested?2020-04-20T08:00:24+00:00
The symptoms of COVID-19 include cough, sore throat, shortness of breath or fever.  However, these are also symptoms of the flu. The National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) recommends that you should only get tested if you display symptoms plus:
  • Been in contact with a confirmed COVID-19 person;
  • Travelled to a high-risk country;
  • Worked in or been to a healthcare facility treating people with Covid-19;
  • Have a severe case of pneumonia with an unknown cause.

However, one should consult your medical practitioner immediately if you display symptoms.

Where should I go if I want to test for COVID-19?2020-04-20T08:00:02+00:00
If you think you might have contracted the virus, you can call the NICD helpline (0800 029 999) and you will be advised on possible testing facilities. However, testing is not routinely done unless testing is indicated by a health professional therefore one would need to be assessed by your medical practitioner in order to qualify for testing.
What happens if I test positive?2020-04-20T07:59:43+00:00
Anyone who tests positive will immediately be notified and put into quarantine at home or at a facility designated to manage the outbreak. You will then remain in quarantine until repeat testing shows you no longer have the virus.
How much does the test cost?2020-04-20T07:59:25+00:00
Public sector testing is free of charge. Private laboratories such as Lancet, Ampath and Pathcare can also test for SARS-CoV-2. Enquiry should be with the respective laboratory for their costing of the test. If going via a private lab, it is advisable to check with your medical aid to ascertain if they will cover the costs for the test.
How is COVID-19 infection treated?2020-04-20T07:59:07+00:00
There is no specific treatment available for SARS-CoV-2. Treatment is supportive (e.g. providing oxygen for patients with shortness of breath or managing a fever). Antibiotics do not treat viral infections. However, antibiotics may be required if a secondary bacterial infection develops. Currently, there is a vaccine being developed.
Which hospitals will treat COVID-19 infected patients?2020-04-20T07:58:46+00:00
The following hospitals have also been identified as centres for isolation and treatment of people infected with Coronavirus:
  • Polokwane Hospital in Limpopo;
  • Rob Ferreira Hospital in Mpumalanga;
  • Charlotte Maxeke Hospital, Steve Biko Hospital and Tembisa Hospitals in Gauteng;
  • Grace Hospital in KwaZulu-Natal;
  • Klerksdorp Hospital in the North West;
  • Kimberly Hospital in the Northern Cape;
  • Pelonomi Hospital in the Free State;
  • Livingstone Hospital in the Eastern Cape; and
  • Tygerberg Hospital in the Western Cape.
Can I go to school or work?2020-04-20T07:58:06+00:00
Anyone who is sick or displaying symptoms should not go to school or work. If you have been in close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case, you should self-isolate for 14 days from the date of close contact. If you are concerned, contact your medical practitioner for further advice.
What is the plan of the Department of Basic Education, what should we do as teachers?2020-04-20T07:57:48+00:00
Protocols have been developed and distributed to provinces and districts in the country. However, it is especially important to encourage children and staff to take every day preventative actions to prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses. This includes staying at home when sick, washing hands with soap and water or using an alcohol based hand sanitiser with at least 60% alcohol and cleaning frequently touched surfaces. If children do become ill, they should be strictly isolated at home. In situations where the child or staff member becomes sick at school, they should be separated from healthy students and staff until sick students and staff can be sent home.
When is the lockdown taking place?2020-04-20T07:57:29+00:00
From 11:59 pm on Thursday, 26 March 11:59 pm, all South Africans will have to stay at home, unless strictly for the purpose of performing an essential service, obtaining an essential good or service, collecting a social grant, or seeking emergency, life-saving, or chronic medical attention. President Cyril Ramaphosa, on 9 April, announced the extension of the lockdown for a further two weeks until the end of April. (…)
Can a funeral take place?2020-04-20T07:56:38+00:00
Yes, funerals will be allowed to take place with the number of mourners restricted to 50. However, night vigils will be prohibited.
Can I travel to another province or district?2020-04-20T07:56:19+00:00
No, movement between provinces is prohibited; and movement between the metropolitan and district areas, is prohibited.
Will shops remain open?2020-04-20T07:55:58+00:00
Retail shops and shopping malls must be closed, except where essential goods are sold and on condition that the person in control of the said store must put in place controls to ensure that customers keep a distance of at least one square meter from each other, and that all directions in respect of hygienic conditions and the exposure of persons to COVID-19 are adhered to.

Retail stores selling essential goods is prohibited from selling any other goods.

Any place not involved in the provision of an essential good or service must remain closed to all persons for the duration of the lockdown.

Which goods are essential?2020-04-20T07:55:36+00:00
(as amended by Gazette 43168 of 26 March 2020 and Gazette 43199 of 2 April 2020 and Gazette 43232 of 16 April 2020)

1. Food
(i) Any food product, including non-alcoholic beverages;
(ii) Animal food; and
(iii) Chemicals, packaging and ancillary products used in the production of any food product.

2. Cleaning and Hygiene Products
(i) Toilet Paper, sanitary pads, sanitary tampons, condoms;
(ii) Hand sanitiser, disinfectants, soap, alcohol for industrial use, household cleaning products, and personal protective equipment; and
(iii) Chemicals, packaging and ancillary products used in the production of any of the above.
iv) Products for the care of babies and toddlers.  (Statement clarification: this provision includes baby clothes, blankets, towels and other essential accessories for new-borns, infants and toddlers up to 36 months old)
(v) Personal toiletries, including haircare, body and face washes, roll -ons, deodorants, toothpaste. “;

3. Medical:
(i) Medical and Hospital Supplies, equipment and personal protective equipment; and
(ii) Chemicals, packaging and ancillary products used in the production of any of the above.

4. Fuel, including coal, wood and gas.

5. Basic goods, including airtime, electricity and the withdrawal of cash.

6. Hardware, components and supplies required by any qualified tradespersons solely for the purpose of emergency repairs at residential homes;

7 Hardware, components and supplies required by any entity engaged in the provision of essential services for any project related to the provision of water, electricity or other essential services;

8. Components for vehicles under-going emergency repairs where such vehicle is used by a person engaged in essential services work.

Which services are essential?2020-04-20T07:55:12+00:00
Categories of essential services shall be confined to the following services: (as amended by Gazette 43168 of 26 March 2020 and Gazette 43199 of 2 April 2020 and Gazette 43232 of 16 April 2020)

1. Medical, Health (including Mental Health), Laboratory and Medical services and the National Institute for Communicable Diseases; ”

2. Disaster Management, Fire Prevention, Fire Fighting and Emergency services;

3.1 (a) The following services necessary to maintain the functioning of a financial system as defined in section 1(1) of the Financial Sector Regulation Act, only when the operation of a place of business or entity is necessary to continue to perform those services:
(i) the banking environment (including the operations of mutual banks, cooperative banks, co-operative financial institutions and the Postbank);
(ii) the payments environment;
(iii) the financial markets (including market infrastructures licensed under the Financial Markets Act, 2012 (Act No. 19 of 2012);
(iv) the insurance environment;
(v) the savings and investment environment;
(vi) pension fund administration;
(vii) outsourced administration;
(viii) medical schemes administration; and
(ix) additional services designated in terms of regulation 11B(4A)(c)(i).
(b) The services listed in paragraph (a) may not be construed to include debt collection services.
3.2 Services necessary for the provision of social grants designated in terms of regulation 11B(4A)(c)(ii).”;

4. Production and sale of the goods listed in category A, above;

5. Grocery stores and wholesale produce markets. spaza shops, informal fruit and vegetable sellers and langanas, with written permission from a municipal authority to operate being required in respect of spaza shops and informal fruit and vegetable traders: Provided that all valid permits for spaza shops and informal fruit and vegetable traders issued before or during the declared national state of disaster and which fall due during the said period, will remain valid for a period of one month after the end of the national state of disaster;

6. Electricity (including vital demand management services), water gas and fuel production, supply and maintenance;

7. Critical jobs for essential government services as determined by Head of National or Provincial Departments in accordance with the guidance of the Department of Public Service and Administration, including Social Grant Payments and pension payments;

8. Birth and death certificates, and replacement identification documents;

9. Essential municipal services;

10. Care services and social relief of distress provided to older persons, mentally ill, persons with disabilities, the sick, and children;

11. Funeral and cremation services, including mortuaries services and the transportation of mortal remains;

12. Wildlife Management, Anti-poaching, Animal Care and Veterinary services;

13. Newspaper, broadcasting and telecommunication infrastructure and services, including call centres critical for the support of such services;

14. Production and sale of any chemicals, hygiene products, pharmaceuticals for the medical or retail sector;

15. Cleaning, sanitation, pest control, sewerage, waste and refuse removal services;

16. Services related to the essential functioning of courts, judicial officers, the Master of the High Court, Sheriffs and legal practitioners required for those services;

17. Essential SARS services defined by the Commissioner of SARS;

18. Police, peace officers, traffic officers, military medical personnel and soldiers, correctional services officials and traffic management services;

19. Postal services and courier services related to transport of medical products;

20. Private security services;

21. Air-traffic Navigation, Civil Aviation Authority, air charters, Cargo Shipping and dockyard services;

22. Gold, gold refinery, coal and mining;

23. Accommodation used for persons rendering essential services, quarantine, isolation and the lockdown;

24. Production, manufacturing, supply, logistics, transport, delivery, critical maintenance and repair in relation to the rendering of essential services including components and equipment;

25. Transport services for persons rendering essential services and goods, and transportation of patients;

26. Services rendered by the Executive, members of Parliament, Members of the Provincial Legislature, Members of Local Councils, the Judiciary, traditional leaders and National Office Bearers. of Political Parties represented in Parliament;

27.1 Commissioners of the South African Human Rights Commission, Gender Commission, the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities, the Public Protector and Deputy Public Protector and the Independent Electoral Commission; and
27 .2 Services rendered by the institutions referred to in item 27 .1;

28. Transport and logistics in respect of cargo and goods as set out in Part A to neighbouring countries;

29. Tow trucks and vehicle recovery services;

30. Call centres necessary to provide health, safety, social support, government and financial services, debt restructuring for consumers of retailers. and access to short-term insurance policies as a result of reduced income or loss of income;

31. Harvesting and storage activities essential to prevent the wastage of primary agricultural goods;

32. Implementation of payroll systems to the extent that such arrangement has not been made for the lockdown, to ensure timeous payments to workers; and

33. Critical maintenance services which cannot be delayed for more than 21 days and are essential to resume operations after the lockdown.

34. Trades necessary for the rendering of emergency repair work, including plumbers, electricians, locksmiths, glaziers, roof repair work;

35. Trades necessary for emergency automobile repairs for persons rendering essential services;

36. Information and Communication Technology services rendered to entities and institutions engaged in delivering essential services in terms of these Regulations.

Is the selling of liquor allowed?2020-04-20T07:54:38+00:00
No, the selling of liquor is strictly prohibited. This is applicable also to supermarkets with liquor licences. No liquor will be sold anywhere by anyone during the 21-day period of the lockdown. Equally, the movement of liquor between any two points is also strictly prohibited as per the COVID-19 Disaster Management Regulations.
Can I claim Unemployment Insurance?2020-04-20T07:54:17+00:00
As the Department of Employment and Labour, we are receiving concerns from workers and unions that some employers are seeking to shift the burden of the lockdown onto the workers, using their annual leave as the first line of response to the lockdown.

This despite the fact that we have said that the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) will fund and put in place systems to address the lay-offs during the lockdown in relation to workers registered for UIF.

It is important that all parties understand that the UIF cannot deal with millions of individual claims – this would lead to chaos. Rather we have put in place systems to pay out UIF benefits through companies, sectoral associations and bargaining councils. Indeed the Textile Bargaining Council has already concluded such an agreement with labour.

We need to stress that such arrangements require that we enter into a Memorandum of Understanding with employer bodies including that their use of the monies will be subject to audit. This has led to some resistance from some employers. They need to understand that these are public funds that by law have to be audited. None of us have a choice in the matter.

I urge all parties to get together and engage so that we can expedite the payment of these monies to the workers that need them. The UIF staff is available to assist in any way necessary. UIF Call Centre (012) 337 1997.

Are family members allowed to travel to other provinces to attend a funeral of a close family member?2020-04-20T07:53:56+00:00
The amendments allow certain individuals to move between provinces and, metropolitan and district areas for purposes of transporting a body for burial purposes.

The amendment also limits the individuals who are permitted to travel to funerals. The regulation now outlines a process for persons who wish to travel between provinces, or between metropolitan and district areas to attend a burial or cremation to obtain a permit.

It further determines that only the following persons, who live outside a province or metropolitan and district areas, may attend a funeral:
(i) spouse or partner of the deceased;
(ii) children of the deceased, whether biological, adopted or stepchildren.
(iii) children-in-law of the deceased;
(iv) parents of the deceased whether biological, adopted or stepparents;
(v) siblings, whether biological, adopted or stepbrother or sister of the deceased;
(vi) grandparents of the deceased; and
(vii) persons closely affiliated to the deceased.

The current prohibition of 50 persons attending a funeral is still in operation. The holding of night vigils is still prohibited.

The permit may be obtained from:
– A Magistrate who is the head of office or
– a station commander of a police station or a person designated by him or her

In order to obtain a permit:
A Magistrate who is the head of office or a station commander of a police station or a person designated by him or her must be provided with a death certificate or a certified copy of a death certificate;

It is important to note that:
A permit holder may stay at a hotel, lodge or guest house for the duration of the funeral or cremation. The permit must be presented to the owner or manager of the hotel, lodge or guest house.

What do the regulations say about minibus taxis transporting essential workers or people going to buy groceries?2020-04-20T07:53:10+00:00
During the lockdown period, minibus taxis and buses may transport essential services workers and passengers who need to travel for groceries, medical treatment, medication or access banking services. These public transport service will however only be available between 05h00 to 10h00 and 16h00 to 20h00.
How do the regulations cater for those who have to use public transport to access social grants?2020-04-20T07:52:46+00:00
From Monday, 30 March 2020 until Friday, 3 April 2020, buses and minibus taxis are permitted to operate throughout the day. These modes of public transport will begin from 5am until 8pm to allow for the collection of grants and buying groceries.
What safety precautions are being implemented to protect those who use public transport?2020-04-20T07:52:27+00:00
All owners of public transport must provide adequate sanitisers or other hygiene dispenser for washing of hands of all passengers.

All operators must ensure that public transport vehicles are sanitised before picking up and after dropping off passengers. All operators must ensure that vehicles’ door and window handles, armrest and hand rails are sanitised. The sanitisers used must have a minimum of 60% alcohol conte

May drivers of minibus taxis and buses load the maximum passenger capacity, if all passengers are wearing masks?2020-04-20T07:52:03+00:00
No. Minibus taxis and buses may not load the maximum passenger capacity of public transport vehicles. Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula has, after careful consideration and in consultation with the taxi industry, rescinded the Direction allowing 100% loading capacity for taxis with immediate effect. Minibus taxis must therefore only apply a 70% loading capacity for public transport vehicles.
What measures are being implemented to promote social distancing in public transport?2020-04-20T07:51:38+00:00
Minibus taxis and buses must reduce their maximum licensed passenger seating capacity to 70%, if passengers are not wearing masks. The follows applies:

(a) A minibus licensed to carry 10 passengers, is limited to carry a maximum of 7 passengers;

(b) A minibus licensed to carry 15 passengers, is limited to carry the maximum of 10 passengers;

(c) A midibus permitted to carry a maximum of 22 passengers, is limited to carry a maximum of 15 passengers.

What safety measures are there to protect drivers and marshals in the minibus taxi sector?2020-04-20T07:51:08+00:00
All drivers must wear a surgical mask or N95 respiratory mask. Any marshal who interacts with members of the public in a public transport facility must wear a mask. All public transport operators are required to put measures in place to adhere to social distancing to curb the spread of the virus.
Will metered taxis and e-hailing (e.g. Uber) services be operational?2020-04-20T07:50:47+00:00
These transport services are available to transport essential service workers during the stipulated times of 05h00 to 10h00 and 16h00 to 20h00. However, a vehicle licensed to carry up to four passengers is limited to carrying 50% of their permissible passenger-carrying capacity.
What safety precautions should metered taxis and e-hailing services implement to protect passengers?2020-04-20T07:50:22+00:00
These transport services should provide adequate sanitisers or other hygiene dispenser for washing of hands of all passengers.  Operators must ensure that their vehicles are sanitised before picking up and after dropping off passengers. The sanitisers used to sanitise all public transport vehicles must have a minimum of 60% alcohol content. All drivers must wear a surgical mask or N95 respiratory mask.
Can my pet get COVID-19?2020-04-20T07:49:57+00:00
No. According to the WHO, there is no evidence that companion animals or pets such as cats and dogs have been infected or could spread the virus that causes COVID-19. However, it is good practice to wash your hands after being around animals.
Go to Top