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South Africa Ends COVID-19 State of Disaster after 750 Days


FILE - A throat swab is taken from a patient to test for COVID-19 at a facility in Soweto, South Africa, Dec. 2, 2021.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa announced Monday the end of the country's state of disaster brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

That means that many restrictions on daily life and business that have been in place for 750 days have officially been removed.

But some measures remain.

Ramaphosa introduced a 30-day transition period that would uphold an indoor mask mandate and requirements to show vaccine certificates or PCR test results to attend large public gatherings.

In addition, international travelers will have to be fully vaccinated or present a negative COVID-19 test result.

A social grant to those who lost their jobs during the pandemic will extend through the transition period, after which all measures will lapse.

The repeal of the state of disaster comes roughly five months after the last major variant, omicron, was discovered by the country's scientists.

Ramaphosa said while case numbers are high, hospitalizations and deaths remain low. South Africa is the hardest-hit country in Africa with about 101,000 COVID-19 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.

With less than half of the adult population vaccinated, Ramaphosa encouraged the public to get their shots.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to correct the number of South Africa's COVID-19 deaths.

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