South Africa is seeing a massive resurgence of Covid-19 infections.
President Ramaphosa highlighted this in an address to the nation last night on South Africa’s response to the Coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic.
The president added that the Covid-19 virus that “descended on our country in March last year has been continuing to mutate, creating new variants”.
According to the president, the Delta variant of the virus has now been detected in five provinces, namely, the Eastern Cape, Free State, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and Western Cape.
“The evidence we have is that the Delta variant is rapidly displacing the Beta variant, which has been dominant in our country until now”, he said.
The president voiced concern about the rapid spread of the Delta variant.
“As of today, the 7-day average of new daily cases nationally has overtaken the peak of the first wave in July last year, and will soon overtake the peak of the second wave we experienced in January this year”, he said.
Gauteng now accounts for more than 60 per cent of new cases in the country and infections are rising rapidly in all other provinces.
Consequently, cabinet, based on scientific advice received from the Ministerial Advisory Committee and further consultation with provinces, metros and traditional leaders, and on the recommendation of the National Coronavirus Command Council, has decided that the country should move to Adjusted Alert Level 4.
The additional restrictions will remain in place for 14 days after which the impact of the interventions will be assessed to determine whether they need to be maintained or adjusted.
Measures to apply across the country from 28 June to 11 July 2021 include:
• All gatherings – whether indoors or outdoors are prohibited – includes religious, political, cultural and social gatherings.
• Funerals and cremations are permitted – attendance to not exceed 50 people and all social distancing and health protocols must be observed.
• Night vigils, after-funeral gatherings and ‘after-tears’ gatherings are not allowed.
• Public spaces, such as beaches and parks, will remain open with no gatherings.
• Curfew in place from 9pm to 4am – all non-essential establishments to close by 8pm.
• The sale of alcohol both for on-site and off-site consumption is prohibited – designed to ease pressure on hospitals due to alcohol-related emergency incidents.
• Travel in and out of Gauteng for leisure purposes prohibited – does not include work, business or commercial travel, transit through airports or transport of goods. Visitors in or out of Gauteng will be able to return home.
• Visits to old age homes, care facilities and other ‘congregant settings’ will be restricted.
• Restaurants and other eateries will only be permitted to sell food for take-away or delivery – no eating or drinking in establishments.
The president also indicated that the closure of schools and other educational institutions for the winter holidays will be brought forward.
“Schools will start closing from this Wednesday, the 30th of June, and all schools will be expected to be closed by the end of the week, on Friday”, he said.
As regards the vaccination rollout, approximately 2.7 million people in South Africa had received a vaccine dose by midnight on 26 June.
Currently, over 100 000 people are being vaccinated per day.
South Africa recently received an additional 1.2 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and 1.4 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine via the COVAX facility.