Covid-19 storm hits: SA to remain on level 3 lockdown as alcohol ban, curfew reinstated
Johannesburg - President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced the country will remain on level 3 of the risk-adjusted lockdown, but regulations will be tightened to ease pressure on the country’s healthcare system and slow down the spread of the coronavirus.
Ramaphosa addressed the nation on Sunday night and announced that following consultations with the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) cabinet had decided to ban the sale of alcohol with immediate effect. A curfew will also be introduced between 9 pm and 4 am. Only those who would be working during that time will be allowed to be out of their homes.
Family visits will remain banned and public parks will be opened, but only for exercise but not for public gatherings.
The national state of disaster has also been extended to August 15.
Ramaphosa said the pressure on the country’s healthcare system was too high and these extreme measures were needed to ensure that the country’s hospitals deal only with coronavirus cases and not alcohol-related trauma incidents.
The president said taxis travelling long distance would be allowed to carry passengers at 70% capacity, but for short-distance travel, the taxi industry would be allowed to operate at 100% capacity.
He said it was now the law for people to wear masks while outside their homes. He said employers should ensure that they monitor the compliance on the wearing of masks.
The president said the storm which Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize had been warning about has arrived. Over 276,000 South Africans have tested positive for the virus and over 134 000 people have recovered.
He said the advice being provided by scientists had shown that the country’s provinces were expected to peak at different rates between August and September.
He said modelling had estimated that over 40,000 South Africans could die from the virus between now and November. He said it was still possible to prove these models wrong with better caution.
He bemoaned the actions of some citizens who have ignored regulations and have hosted parties, gatherings and attended funerals.
He cautioned that the coronavirus thrives in conditions of carelessness.
Ramaphosa appealed to citizens to continue wearing masks and observe social distancing measures.