Ramaphosa on easing more lockdown rules in South Africa

President Cyril Ramaphosa says that the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) is evaluating a number of proposals around the further easing of lockdown restrictions in South Africa.

The president told the South African National Editors’ Forum on Wednesday evening (9 September) that one of the requests he received was from religious leaders, specifically around extending the number of people which may attend gatherings.

The president said that the NCCC was also considering requests from the sporting fraternity, the entertainment sector, hotels and tourism.

“We are considering all of that as we do an evaluation of where the infection rate is. We will be able to give consideration to all of these proposals and get advice.

“This is where we will need advice from the Medical Advisory Committee as well as from our Natjoints which is the real engine of monitoring our coronavirus approach. So we will be giving consideration to all that.”

Ramaphosa indicated that he will further address the nation next week on a range of issues. “Watch this space next week (as to) where we end up as a nation in as far as this is concerned,” he said.

Ramaphosa’s comments come after Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize said that South Africa will need to move to a level 1 lockdown and a return to ‘normal activities’ as part of its economic recovery.

In a radio interview on Wednesday (9 September), Mkhize said that the country will still need to follow major measures around gatherings. However, he said that there was a need to further reopen the economy and get people back to jobs.

The minister said that it was too early to provide a date as to when the country could move to a level 1 lockdown, but he confirmed that the government was currently discussing the issue.

“The president will come out in the next few days and give us a sense of direction, but we will be preparing for people to start easing to the next level. When that has been announced we will, of course, move onto that level, but it has not been decided yet.”

While government has not given any indication as to what level 1 lockdown would entail, there are still a few segments of the economy which are still limited under the current level 2 regulations.

These prohibitions include:

  • Night clubs;
  • International passenger air travel for leisure purposes;
  • Passenger ships for international leisure purposes;
  • Attendance of any sporting event by spectators;
  • International sports events;
  • Exclusions relating to public transport services: this relates to long-distance public transport (busses and taxis) being only allowed to operate at 70% capacity;
  • Exclusions relating to education services: currently this relates to grades which are yet to return, and certain university classes.

Read: Ramaphosa responds to South Africa’s massive economic decline

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Ramaphosa on easing more lockdown rules in South Africa