Mkhize sends warning as South Africa moves to level 1 lockdown

Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize has warned of a possible Covid-19 resurgence as the country moves to a level 1 lockdown and said that South Africans should not grow complacent.

Mkhize said that the country is ‘not out of the woods’ and is still reporting around 10,000 new coronavirus cases a week. He said that the actual number of cases in the country is likely much higher.

“Before we get the vaccine, we can’t rest. So South Africans need to know that level 1 (does not mean) that everything is over. (Instead) level 1 is aimed at rebuilding our economy.”

The health minister said that while level 1 would also see the reintroduction of traditions and social structures – the country was now entering a ‘new normal’ and that the country is not the same as it was before.

“We are now in a post-Covid world and we have to take precautions. This Covid can still resurge and therefore we must not lose the message and be complacent. We still have to continue the fight, therefore the containment measures still remain in place.”

South Africa reported 1,555 new coronavirus cases on Sunday (20 September) taking the total reported to 661,211. Deaths have reached 15,953 (an increase of 13), while recoveries have climbed to 590,071, leaving the country with a balance of 55,187 active cases.

Global Covid-19 infections have hit 30.8 million confirmed, with the death toll reaching 958,000.

South Africa moved to a level 1 lockdown from 00h01 on Monday morning (21 September), with a number of sectors seeing the further easing of restrictions,

Some of the eased restrictions include:

  • Gatherings will be allowed as long as the number of people do not exceed 50% of the normal capacity of a venue –  up to a maximum of 250 people for indoor gatherings and 500 people for outdoor gatherings;
  • Venues such as gyms and recreational facilities have had limits increased to 50% of total capacity;
  • From 1 October 2020, all travellers from the African continent and from countries outside the African continent with a low rate of Covid-19 infection and transmission will resume  – subject to regulations;
  • The hours during which alcohol may be sold has been extended;
  • Every person is confined to his or her place of residence from 00h01 until 04h00 daily, except where a person  has been granted a permission for work purposes or is attending to a security or medical emergency.

Read: What to expect from South Africa’s new international travel list: minister

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Mkhize sends warning as South Africa moves to level 1 lockdown