276,242 confirmed coronavirus cases in South Africa as deaths climb to 4,079

President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced that there are now 276,242 total cases of coronavirus in South Africa.

This is an increase of 12,058 cases from the 264,184 cases reported on Saturday.

The president announced 108 new Covid-19 related deaths, taking the total to 4,079 casualties following a high of 192 deaths on Tuesday this past week.

There have been over 134,000 recoveries to date, according to an update from the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).

Since 31 December 2019 and as of 12 July 2020, 12.7 million cases of Covid-19 have been reported, including 565,000 deaths.

On Sunday evening (12 July), president Cyril Ramaphosa announced that the national state of disaster has been extended to 15 August 2020, and that additional restrictions will be put in place in response to the growing number of infections in the country.

The president said that despite the efforts of many South Africans, there are those among the population who are proceeding with complete disregard for the dangers of the virus, and the regulations that have been put in place to safeguard them from it.

He said that many people are hosting parties, going on ‘drinking sprees’, travelling without masks, and gathering in numbers greater than the 50 people limit – all outside of the standing regulations.

The president said that these people are exacerbating the spread of the virus, and feeding the rapid surge of infection in the country.

He reiterated that wearing a cloth mask, steering clear of other people, and maintaining high levels of hygiene is the best way to combat the virus.

Ramaphosa also acknowledged the emerging information around the spread of the virus, specifically that it may be present in smaller particles of air, travelling further, and lingering longer.

This, he said, is a particular risk in crowded and poorly ventilated rooms – in line with the latest findings from the World Health Organisation.

Taking all this into account, he said that the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) had considered moving back to a higher level of lockdown – either level 4 or level 5.

However, he said that the advice that has been received indicated that moving to higher levels of lockdown would not result in a significant reduction of infections, and would do untold damage to the economy.

Therefore, the country will remain at level 3, for now, he said. However, there will be some tighter restrictions in place. These include:

  • Regulations around the wearing of masks will be made stricter – where employees, owners and institutions will be legally obliged to ensure that masks are worn at all times.
  • Taxis travelling inter-provincially will be restricted to 70% capacity. Local taxis will be allowed 100% capacity, with conditions, such as keeping windows open for better ventilation.
  • The sale, dispensing and distribution of alcohol will be suspended with immediate effect. This is because there is now clear evidence that since alcohol sales were opened, additional burden has been placed on healthcare facilities.
  • A curfew is back in place, taking effect from Monday 13 July, 21h00.
  • Family visits and other social activities are still not allowed.

Ramaphosa said that some things will be eased as well – including:

  • Parks will be open for exercise.
  • Auctions will be opened.

Read: Ramaphosa to reintroduce stricter lockdown rules for South Africa: report

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276,242 confirmed coronavirus cases in South Africa as deaths climb to 4,079