South Africa extends state of disaster by another month as Covid cases rise

President Cyril Ramaphosa’s cabinet has extended South Africa’s national state of disaster by a further month.

In a statement made following a cabinet meeting on Thursday (10 June), it said that the state of disaster will now continue until 15 July 2021.

Acting minister in the presidency, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, said that the extension was necessary to allow the country to continue its Coivd-19 containment efforts.

Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma is expected to officially publish the extension in the government gazette within the next couple of days.

South Africa declared a national state of disaster under Section 27(1) and Section 27(2) of the Disaster Management Act on 15 March 2020 in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

While the state of disaster was originally set to lapse on 15 June 2020, the act provides that it can be extended by the Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) minister by notice in the gazette for one month at a time before it lapses.

Government has relied on the state of disaster to introduce and give effect to lockdown restrictions, which it has used to curb the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The latest extension comes as South Africa faces a surge in Covid-19 cases, with the number of new cases climbing by 8,881 on Wednesday (June 9).

The National Institute of Communicable Diseases, a division of the National Health Laboratory Service, pointed to a 16.5% positivity testing rate, while the total number of confirmed cases in the country moved to to 1,712,939.

Worryingly, the country’s most populous and productive province, Gauteng, has recorded the bulk of infections at 5,111 – or 58% of the new cases.

“The increased number of tests and cases, and increased positivity are all evidence of the predicted third surge in Covid-19 cases,” the NICD said in a statement.

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South Africa extends state of disaster by another month as Covid cases rise