Government shoots down ‘level 5 lockdown’ rumours

 ·4 Jan 2021

Government officials have indicated that South Africa is unlikely to introduce stricter lockdown restrictions this week.

The clarity comes after messages spread on popular social media platforms WhatsApp and Facebook, which stated that that the National Coronavirus Command Council  (NCCC) was meeting on Monday, and was looking to introduce a seven-day level 5 lockdown to help the country cope with the second coronavirus wave.

In recent weeks, countries such as Ireland have used these harder lockdowns as a type of ‘fire break’ and to help hospitals cope with the wave of infections.

However, government spokesperson Phumla Williams said that the messages circulating on social media about a return to a harder lockdown for South Africa were untrue.

She further confirmed that there is no planned NCCC meeting this week.

Williams told News24 that there would be no adjustment made to the lockdown on Monday as the correct processes had not been followed.

She added that unless there was a dramatic change in South Africa’s Covid-19 situation, the president was unlikely to address the nation on further lockdown measures at all this week.

On 28 December 2020, the president announced that South Africa would move to an adjusted level 3 with immediate effect.

The adjusted level 3 regulations were gazetted on 29 December 2020 and contain further restrictions and stricter penalties for non-compliance with a view to curbing the spread of the virus while retaining a functioning economy insofar as possible.

In addition to new curfew hours and further limitations on gatherings, the president announced a complete ban on the sale of alcohol. He said these regulations would be reviewed on 15 January.

South Africa reported  11,859 new Covid-19 cases on Sunday, taking the total reported to 1,100,748. Deaths have reached 29,577 (a daily increase of 402), while recoveries have climbed to 903,679, leaving the country with a balance of 167,429 active cases.

Read: Government ‘caught napping’ on Covid-19 vaccines – now South Africa will pay the price

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