South Africa is to move to Alert Level 2 with effect from midnight on Monday, 17 August 2020.
President Ramaphosa announced this during an address to the nation last night on South Africa’s risk-adjusted strategy to manage the spread of Coronavirus COVID-19.
The president declared that progress in the fight against COVID-19 has been made.
“Over the last three weeks, the number of new confirmed cases has dropped from a peak of over 12,000 a day to an average over the past week of around 5,000 a day,” he said.
The president also pointed out that the recovery rate from coronavirus now stands at 80% and the number of active cases is declining every day, currently around 105,000.
“The virus appears to have peaked in several provinces, including the Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Gauteng and possibly in KwaZulu-Natal,” he said.
The president indicated that, given the signs of hope, South Africa is ready to “enter a new phase in our response to the pandemic”.
According to the president, Alert Level 2 in terms of the risk adjusted strategy in dealing with the pandemic means that there is a moderate COVID-19 spread of the virus with a relatively high health system readiness.
He added that the move to Level 2 means that “we can remove nearly all of the restrictions on the resumption of economic activity across most industries”.
“Economic activity will be allowed with the necessary and appropriate stringent health protocols and safety precautions in place,” he said.
Changes under Alert Level 2 include:
• All restrictions on inter-provincial travel to be lifted.
• Accommodation, hospitality venues and tours to be permitted according to approved protocols to ensure social distancing.
• Restaurants, bars and taverns will be permitted to operate according to approved protocols as to times of operation and numbers of people.
• Restrictions on the sale of tobacco to be lifted.
• The suspension of the sale of alcohol to be lifted subject to certain restrictions.
• Alcohol will be permitted for on-site consumption in licensed establishments only up until 10pm.
• Liquor outlets will be allowed to sell alcohol for off-site consumption from Monday to Thursday during the hours of 9am to 5pm only.
• Restrictions on family and social visits will also be lifted, although everyone is urged to exercise extreme caution and undertake such visits only if necessary – (special care should be taken to protect the elderly and people with underlying conditions).
The president declared, however, that current restrictions on international travel will remain in place; no gatherings of more than 50 people will be permitted including funerals and religious events; spectators will not be permitted at sporting events and the curfew will remain in place between the hours of 10pm and 4am.
Government continues to encourage people to stay at home if they can and, if possible, to work from home, especially if they are over the age of 60 or have underlying conditions.
The president also announced that the national state of disaster has been extended until 15 September 2020.