Why Ramaphosa kept SA on Level 1
Durban – Acting on the advice of the National Coronavirus Command Council, President Cyril Ramaphosa on Tuesday evening, announced that the country would remain on Level 1 – but with minor adjustments.
Ramaphosa announced that the off-site sale of alcohol would be banned for four days over the Easter long weekend – Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday.
Ramaphosa said for the past two weeks, the number of new cases remained relatively stable at about 1 200 new cases per day, explaining why the country had been kept on Level 1.
Also on the decline is the number of hospitalisations, as is the number of deaths and the national recovery rate stands at 95%.
“Given the relatively low transmission levels, we have decided to keep the country on coronavirus alert level 1.
“However, due to the specific circumstances of this period, we need to make a few adjustments.
“Some of the measures that will remain unchanged are as follows: The curfew is maintained from midnight to 4am… given the role of alcohol in fuelling reckless behaviour, we will put in place some restrictions over the Easter weekend.
“To this end, the sale of alcohol for off-site consumption will be prohibited this coming Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday,” he said.
In a bid to save the ailing tourism industry, Ramaphosa allowed public spaces like parks and beaches to remain open but they have to observe Covid-19 regulations in order to ensure compliance.
"Public recreational spaces such as beaches, parks and dams will remain open.
“However, this will continue to be subject to strict health protocols, such as social distancing, mask-wearing.
“Funerals remain restricted to a maximum of 100 people and with a two-hour limit on services.
“Interprovincial travel will still be permitted.
“However, I urge all South Africans to limit their travel as much as possible and to observe all the necessary health protocols if they cannot avoid travelling,” Ramaphosa announced.
In another move applauded by the religious sector, Ramaphosa allowed churches to go ahead with their Easter services, but again, he imposed some restrictions which allowed the church to have up to 250 congregants.
Moreover, he restricted the church from having members sleep-in at worship venues.
“In recent weeks, we have held consultations with faith communities to find mutually beneficial solutions to the challenges of managing large crowds at religious services.
“Following this consultation, it has been determined that religious gatherings over this period will be restricted to a total number of 250 people indoors and 500 outdoors.
“Where the venue is too small to accommodate these numbers with appropriate social distancing, then no more than 50% of the capacity of the venue may be used.
“Congregants should not gather outside their usual places of worship, and people must go home and not sleep over after services,” he announced.
These measures are likely to be reviewed in the coming weeks as Ramaphosa said the country was still expecting a third wave.