A call to move South Africa to a level 1 lockdown

Western Cape premier Alan Winde says the province must be moved to alert level 1 as soon as possible, as it becomes clear that it is exiting its third wave of Covid-19 infections.

The move would provide much-needed support to the economy and enable it to get the balance right in saving both lives and jobs in the province, he said in a statement on Wednesday (22 September).

“The Western Cape also calls for an end to the national state of disaster. The national government cannot use this extreme tool forever, especially if we are to grow the economy and create the jobs our country needs to recover.

“That is why I will request from the national government a clear plan for its termination, with set timeframes,” he said.

It is not justifiable to impose restrictions on the economy, especially at a time when we are facing a terrifying unemployment crisis, and when the data clearly demonstrates that the healthcare platform has more than adequate capacity to respond, Winde said.

“These restrictions must therefore be relaxed as soon as possible.”

Health minister Joe Phaahla said last week that South Africa is seeing a decline in the third wave of its Covid-19 cases, and the government is considering the further easing of lockdown restrictions.

Addressing media on Friday (17 September), Phaahla said that some of the eased restrictions could include:

  • An 00h00 evening curfew;
  • Alcohol would be allowed to be sold for off-site consumption on a Saturday;
  • More leisure activities will be allowed to reopen.

Professional services firm PwC said that it expects a move to level 1 lockdown from the start of October.

Current lockdown rules

South Africa is currently under adjusted lockdown level 2, with the following restrictions in place:

  • The hours of curfew run from 23h00 – 04h00. Non-essential establishments such as bars and gyms need to close at 22h00 to give staff to get home.
  • All gatherings are limited to 250 people indoors, while outdoor gatherings are limited to 500 people. Where the venue is too small to accommodate these amounts of people, then no more than 50% of the floor space may be used.
  • The sale of alcohol for off-site consumption is permitted from 10h00 – 18h00 from Monday-Friday.
  • On-site consumption of alcohol is subject to licensing permissions until 22h00. Funerals remain restricted to no more than 50 people, and, as before, night vigils, after-funeral gatherings and ‘after-tears’ gatherings are not allowed.

Read: South Africa’s Covid-19 daily vaccination rate plunges

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A call to move South Africa to a level 1 lockdown