President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced a major relaxation of the COVID-19 restrictions as the number of cases in South Africa recede.
Cabinet moved to level two from Midnight on August 17. It means that we can remove nearly all of the restrictions across most of industry. Restrictions on inter-provincial travel shall be lifted along with those on accommodation. Social distancing will carry on, but bars and restaurants be able to operate up to 10 pm; cigarettes can be sold. Family and social visits will also be lifted, but only if people exercise extreme caution.
Curfews will remain in place from 10pm to 4 am and people are encouraged to work from home, especially if they are old or infirm. The national state of disaster was extended to September 15. ,
“Ï address you tonight in a spirit of hope, there are signs that this pandemic is receding. We were getting 12000 cases a day now it is 5000,” says President Ramaphosa.
“The number of hospital cases have dropped from 10000 to 4000…South Africa has reached the peak and moved beyond the inflection point of the curve,” says the president.
President Ramaphosa said this improvement in the COVID-19 figures was due to swift action by the government in the early days of the pandemic. He also praised the medical staff of South Africa for their work and the people for wearing masks.
But Ramaphosa also warned that relaxation of the restrictions could lead to a resurgence in the pandemic. He said people should continue to wear masks, social distance and restrict travelling.
Ï could be infected as you could each of us should see ourselves as potentially infected with the virus nd act accordingly,” he said.
Sports and political gatherings will can go ahead, but with no crowds. No more than 50 people will be allowed at funerals and religious events.
President Ramaphosa said the government was going to take decisive action against those who had tried to profit from the efforts to contain the pandemic with a view to bringing them to book.
In the next few weeks, President Ramaphosa said that the government would announce a plan to revive the economy with employment at its centre.
“Ëven as we open up economic activity it will take business and industry a long time to recover and there is a lot of work to be done,” he said.