Third wave looming in SA: New restrictions you can expect
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CAPE TOWN - SA’s positivity rate had climbed past 10 percent which is well above the WHO’s recommended levels.
On Monday, South Africa reported 2,383 new Covid-19 cases with 23,352 tests conducted in the last 24 hours – representing a 10.2% positivity rate. A further 72 Covid-19 related deaths were reported, bringing total fatalities to 55,874 to date.
For nearly a month, the country has seen a sharp increase in positive coronavirus cases. Health experts have called for the government to introduce tighter restrictions in order to mitigate the impact of the third wave of infections.
According to media reports, the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) will meet on Tuesday (May 25) to discuss possible measures.
Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has also mentioned that new restrictions are inevitable as the country approaches the third wave.
“At some point, we will have to look at some additional restrictions that have to be put into place to make sure that we can reduce the numbers. We are going to recommend that there should be more focus on the size of gatherings,” he said.
With the third wave looming and talks of new restrictions, here's what you can expect:
- Limit on gatherings
The Minister has previously mentioned that restrictions targeting gatherings will likely be considered. Currently, 250 persons or less for indoor venues and 500 persons or less for outdoor venues, adhering to all health protocols and social distancing measures are permitted to gather.
Wits University Social Security systems expert, Professor Alex van den Heever said
“It’s inconceivable that certain restrictions targeting indoor gatherings will be considered in the next few weeks.”
Government has implemented either a full-on ban or restricted sales of alcohol in the previous Covid-19 surges. In dealing with the second wave of Covid-19 infections during the festive season, government implemented a full-on ban on alcohol sales from December 28, 2020, to February 1, 2021, and during the Easter weekend, restricted sales for off-site consumption.
Whenever the government implements restrictions on gatherings and alcohol, a curfew is also introduced. Non-essential establishments, including restaurants and bars, must close at 20:00.
- Jail or fine for not wearing a mask in public
Enforcement on the wearing of a mask in a public space. It is currently compulsory to wear a mask in a public space. Anyone who does not wear a mask is committing an offence and can be arrested. Offenders can face up to six months in prison or a fine, or both.