South Africa has moved from Adjusted Alert Level 3 to Alert Level 1.
Addressing the nation last night on progress in the national effort to contain the Coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic, president Ramaphosa pointed out that the “few remaining restrictions under Alert Level 1 are meant to maintain low levels of infections and, in particular, to prevent super-spreading events”.
The president confirmed that, based on a significant drop in new infections, admissions to hospital and deaths, South Africa has now clearly emerged from the second wave.
Restrictions under Alert Level 1 include:
• Curfew from 12 midnight to 4am.
• Gatherings permitted, subject to limitations on size, adherence to social distancing and other health protocols – include religious, social, political and cultural gatherings.
• Maximum number of people allowed at any gathering is 100 people indoors or 250 people outdoors – no more than 50 per cent of the capacity of the venue may be used if venue too small to accommodate numbers.
• Night vigils or other gatherings before or after funerals not permitted.
• Nightclubs to remain closed.
• Alcohol to be sold according to normal licence provisions – no alcohol to be sold during curfew.
• Wearing of masks in public places still mandatory – failure to wear a mask when required remains a criminal offence.
• 33 land border posts that have been closed to remain closed – other 20 to remain open.
• Five airports open for international travel with standard infection control measures – OR Tambo, Cape Town, King Shaka, Kruger Mpumalanga and Lanseria airports.
The president emphasized that the easing of restrictions should not be viewed as a reason to abandon precautions.
“The threat of a third wave is constantly present, as is the threat of yet more new variants”, he said.
In terms of the vaccination programme, the president announced that more than 67,000 health workers have been vaccinated in the 10 days since the programme was launched.
“A new batch of 80,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine arrived in the country yesterday, and we are steadily increasing the number of doses administered each day”, he said.
The number of sites available for vaccination will be expanded next week from 17 sites to 49 sites with 32 at public hospitals and 17 sites in private hospitals.
Phase two of the vaccine roll-out will commence in late April or early May once the vaccination of healthcare workers has been completed.
The president confirmed that phase two will include the “elderly, essential workers, persons living or working in institutional settings and those with co-morbidities”.
As regards the acquisition of vaccines, the president indicated that an agreement with Johnson & Johnson has been signed to secure 11 million doses, 20 million doses secured from Pfizer to be delivered from the second quarter, 12 million vaccine doses from the COVAX facility and the dose allocation from the African Union is being finalised.