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‘Zero tolerance’ for parents who expose children to Covid-19 risk

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Minister appeals to parents/caregivers who share joint custody to ‘prioritise the health and safety of their children’

SOCIAL Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu on Monday warned that despite the relaxation of Covid-19 lockdown regulations, which allow the movement of children between parents, anyone who exposed children to the epidemic would face consequences.

“We appeal to all parents/caregivers who share joint custody to be reasonable, to act in good faith and to prioritise the health and safety of their children when making decisions about whether children should be moved in the first place,” Zulu said at a media briefing in Pretoria.

“We have zero tolerance for any parent or caregiver who recklessly exposes a child to any Covid-19 risk.”

Zulu said government had amended the regulations with regard to the movement of children between co-holders of parental responsibilities or care, guided by Section 1 of the Children’s Act.

“Under the new regulations, the movement of children between co-holders of parental responsibilities who reside in different metropolitan areas, district municipalities or provinces is allowed, provided the co-holders of the parental responsibilities or the caregiver has (a): a court order; or (b): a parental responsibilities and rights agreement or parenting plan, registered with the family advocate; or (c): a permit issued by a magistrate which corresponds with Form 3 of the regulations if the documentation (a) and (b) is not available,” she said.

“I must hasten to add that before a magistrate issues a permit I referred to above, he or she must be provided with a birth certificate or certified copy of a birth certificate of the child or children to prove a legitimate relationship between the co-holders of parental responsibilities and rights, and written reasons why the movement of the child is necessary.”

She added that the amendments to the regulations were specifically made to allow any child who was not at the residence of their primary caregiver prior to the announcement of the lockdown to return to the primary caregiver.

“However, I must point out that this will be done on a once-off basis,” said the minister.

As of Sunday, the total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in South Africa was 10 015 – which is 595 more than Saturday’s total – with eight more deaths, bringing the death toll to 194, Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize announced.

“Regrettably, we report eight more Covid-19-related deaths – three from the Western Cape, one from the Eastern Cape, and four from Gauteng. This brings the total national deaths to 194. We wish to express our condolences to the loved ones of the deceased and thank the health care workers who treated these patients. We are, however, encouraged by the number of recoveries which was 4 173 as at May 9, 2020,” Mkhize said in a statement.

– African News Agency