Government meeting to review lockdown restrictions for South Africa

President Cyril Ramaphosa will hold consultations this week around South Africa’s adjusted level 2 lockdown and the possibility of adjusting restrictions, says Western Cape premier Alan Winde.

Winde said that the President’s Coordinating Council will meet on Thursday (30 September), allowing provinces to review and voice their concerns on current regulations.

“During the PCC, I will reiterate the Western Cape’s call for the termination of the National State of Disaster,” he said.

“The Western Cape has now exited the third wave. According to the technical definition, leaving the third wave requires that new infections are 15% of the peak, or 530 cases a day on average. Our current daily infections are lower than this and now stands at 350 a day.

“It is not fair on our small businesses, especially in the hospitality sector, to have restrictions in place for even a day longer than necessary. We must get the balance right in saving both lives and jobs. Ending the National State of Disaster is the right thing to do.”

Eased restrictions

Wits University vaccinology expert professor Shabir Madhi says lockdowns are effective in alleviating pressure on the healthcare system, but that they could be significantly decreased in South Africa given the current statistics.

“We could probably downscale any sort of restrictions that have been imposed in the past,” he told eNCA .

“Other than having limitations on indoor gatherings especially in poorly ventilated spaces, all of the data indicates that other than eliminating the pressure on health care facilities at the time, level restrictions haven’t done much to people that have already been infected.”

Ramaphosa is expected to announce South Africa’s updated lockdown regulations in the coming days, after moving to an adjusted level 2 lockdown on 13 September.

Health minister Joe Phaahla said last week that the government is considering the further easing of lockdown restrictions. 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.

However, despite the more positive outlook, Phaahla and other health experts have warned that a fourth wave could be on the horizon – particularly with the coming elections in November, and higher mobility and larger gatherings over the end-of-year holiday period.

On Wednesday (29 September), South Africa reported 2,106 new cases of Covid-19, taking the total reported to 2,900,994.

Deaths have reached 87,525 (+108), while recoveries have climbed to 2,766,892, leaving the country with a balance of 46,577 active cases. The total number of vaccines administered is 17,349,100 (+172,497).

Read: Why government won’t lift South Africa’s lockdown and state of disaster: Ramaphosa

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Government meeting to review lockdown restrictions for South Africa