The National State of Disaster will be extended to 15 January 2021 in line with the Disaster Management Act.
President Ramaphosa announced this last night during an address to the nation on developments in the Coronavirus Covid-19 response.
The president also confirmed that Alert Level 1 restrictions remain in force throughout the country.
As regards rising infections in the Eastern Cape, the president announced that cabinet, following a recommendation of the National Coronavirus Command Council and after consultation with premiers, metro mayors and traditional leaders, has declared the Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality a coronavirus hotspot.
Additional restrictions, over and above Level 1 restrictions, are now in place in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro:
• The hours of the curfew will be from 10pm and 4am – not applicable to essential workers.
• The sale of alcohol from retail outlets will only be permitted between 10am and 6pm from Monday to Thursday.
• Alcohol consumption in public spaces, such as beaches and parks, is strictly forbidden.
• Gatherings – including religious gatherings – may not be attended by more than 100 people for indoor events and 250 for outdoor events. The total number of people in a venue may not exceed more than 50% of the capacity of the venue.
• All post-funeral gatherings are prohibited.
According to the president, the additional measures are “necessary to contain the resurgence in Nelson Mandela Bay, to prevent outbreaks resulting from social gatherings and to protect the capacity of the healthcare system to provide care to those who need it”.
In terms of the summer initiation season in the Eastern Cape, the president also announced that, following extensive consultation with traditional leaders, government has decided that the initiation season may go ahead.
“This is because traditional leaders in the Eastern Cape have submitted a risk adjusted plan that has been approved by Departments of Health and Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs,” he said.
However, no initiation schools will take place in Nelson Mandela Bay.
The president confirmed that the health minister will visit the Sarah Baartman District and the Garden Route over the next few days to “assess the situation and to engage with various stakeholders in the province”.
“Based on this assessment and the development of the disease in these areas, the National Coronavirus Command Council will determine the appropriate course of action.”
The president called on South Africans not to let their guard down as the holiday season approached.
“Unless we take personal responsibility for our health and the health of others, more people are going to become infected. More people are going to die,” he said.
The president added that, until a vaccine is developed and distributed, we remain our own best protection against Covid-19.
Protective actions include wearing a mask in public at all times, observing social distancing and avoiding large gatherings and indoor spaces and regular washing or sanitising of hands.
In order to contain the rise in infections in the affected districts in the Eastern Cape and Western Cape and to prevent a similar situation developing in other parts of the country, the resurgence plan developed in conjunction with the World Health Organization’s surge team, will be implemented.
Steps include making more capacity available at hospitals and clinics; expanding public health interventions such as testing, contact tracing, isolation and quarantine and boosting awareness campaigns around public health regulations.