Ramaphosa says Covid-19 still a real danger, warns of tighter restrictions if needed
Johannesburg - President Cyril Ramaphosa on Tuesday expressed his condolences over the fatalities from Covid-19 as the national death toll breached 1 000 and the number of confirmed cases surpassed 50 000.
In a statement, Ramaphosa said his government would, if necessary, impose a higher alert level in specific parts of the country to prevent a rapid increase in cases of the coronavirus which has infected more than 7.2 million people globally since December and taken more than 409 000 lives.
As of Monday, South Africa had recorded 50 879 confirmed cases of Covid-19 – the highest in Africa – out of which 1 080 people had died, while 26 099 had recovered.
"We should take this moment to remind ourselves that the coronavirus presents a real danger to all of us," Ramaphosa said.
"While it may be an invisible enemy, it is nevertheless deadly. While most of those infected with the virus will have only mild symptoms, or no symptoms at all, they can still spread the disease to others who may suffer far more."
He said the government would in the weeks and months ahead continue to take all action necessary to safeguard the lives of citizens.
"While our country has had sufficient capacity to cope with the rate of infection so far, we continue to monitor the situation closely," he said.
"If necessary, we will impose a higher alert level in specific parts of the country to prevent a rapid increase in cases."
On Monday, Ramaphosa said he was worried about the rising number of Covid-19 cases in South Africa and defended the nationwide lockdown that has been in place since March 27 to try and slow transmissions down, although some rules have since been relaxed.
"It is ... crucial that all South Africans adhere to the restrictions that remain in place and continue to take basic precautions to prevent the spread of the virus," he reiterated on Tuesday.
"These precautions remain our best defence against the coronavirus."
Ramaphosa's government has faced several legal challenges to the lockdown, most prominently from the tobacco industry over a continued ban on cigarette sales.
The DA has also queried why some sectors of the economy and social activity have been allowed to resume, while others, such as the hairdressing industry, remain prohibited.
African News Agency/ANA