President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced that South Africa’s lockdown regulations will be tightened as the country grapples with a third Covid-19 wave.
In a national address on Tuesday evening (15 June), the president said that the country will move to a level 3 lockdown from midnight to stop health facilities from being overwhelmed.
He said that the priority now is to ensure that there are enough beds and healthcare workers to give the best possible care to those who need it.
The new restrictions include:
- The hours of curfew are from 22h00 – 04h00
- Non-essential establishments such as bars and fitness centres must close at 21h00
- All gatherings will be limited to 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors. Where the venue is too small to accommodate appropriate social distancing, 50% of the floor space may be used.
- Attendance at funerals and cremation may not exceed 50 people.
- Night vigils and after-funeral gatherings remain prohibited.
- The sale of alcohol for off-site consumption is permitted between 10h00 – 18h00 from Monday to Thursday.
- On-site alcohol consumption may continue until 21h00, subject to liquor licenses.
- Alcohol in public is strictly prohibited.
A mountain to climb
President Ramaphosa said that he understood that South Africans were frustrated about having their freedom restricted, but said that restrictions are necessary for combating the Covid-19 virus.
He added that the country has a ‘mountain to climb’ as it faces a third wave of infections – with daily infections doubling in the last two weeks.
Hospital admissions are 59% and deaths have increased by 48% over the same time period, he said. With the exception of the Northern Cape, all provinces are experiencing a rise in infections, with most provinces either in an official third wave or reaching this point.
Ramaphosa said that Gauteng is a particular concern and that it is set to pass its second wave peak in the coming days.
South Africa reported a total of 8,436 new cases on Tuesday, which represents a 17.8% positivity rate. This brings the total number of laboratory-confirmed cases to 1,761,066.
The majority of new cases today are from the Gauteng province (64%), followed by the Western Cape (7%), North West (6%), Free State (6%) and KwaZulu-Natal (5%).
A further 208 related deaths have been reported, bringing total fatalities to 58,087.
#COVID19 UPDATE: A total of 47,394 tests were conducted in the last 24 hrs, with 8,436 new cases, which represents a 17.8% positivity rate. A further 208 #COVID19 related deaths have been reported, bringing total fatalities to 58,087. Read more: https://t.co/iBrPqF4iNh pic.twitter.com/XgK8Klms5Z
— NICD (@nicd_sa) June 15, 2021