International travel will be opened up to all countries subject to the necessary health protocols and the presentation of a negative COVID-19 certificate.
President Ramaphosa announced this during an address to the nation last night on progress in the national effort to contain the Coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic.
The president added that, by using rapid tests and strict monitoring, government intends limiting the spread of the infection through importation.
The president emphasized that COVID-19 is far from over.
“It is very much still here. And it will remain with us for some time to come”, he said.
Government holds the view that, under the current alert level 1, all the tools are in place to prevent a resurgence.
“For as long as we observe all the necessary health protocols and remaining restrictions – as individuals, as businesses, as institutions – there should be no need to return to a higher alert level.”
The president announced that the National State of Disaster is being extended by another month to 15 December 2020 in order to ensure that all the necessary prevention measures are kept in place.
The president called on all South Africans to wear a mask when leaving home.
“Wearing a mask every time we leave home is far, far better than a second wave. It is also far better than a return to lockdown and better than having to shut down the economy.”
Other decisions announced by the president include that alert level 1 regulations will be amended to restore the normal trading hours for the sale of alcohol at retail outlets; the COVID-19 UIF TERS benefit scheme to be extended to 15 October 2020 and the nation to embark on five days of mourning for the victims of COVID-19 from 25 to 29 November 2020.
The president pointed out that discussions with social partners on support for businesses in distress going forward will continue “mindful of the need to ensure that the UIF has sufficient funds to meet the anticipated rise in unemployment claims”.
In response to rising infections in the Eastern Cape, the president indicated that a resurgence plan will be implemented.
“Interventions include primary health care outreach teams to intensify contact tracing, daily community mobilisation, ensuring the readiness of health facilities, and being ready to respond to possible clusters outbreaks.”
The president also highlighted that South Africa is “collaborating with several multinational pharmaceutical companies to obtain a safe and effective vaccine for our people and is contributing towards the availability of the vaccine in the rest of the continent”.