New 12am to 4am curfew hours kick in with immediate effect

Ramaphosa calls for restraint as SA moves to level 1

President Cyril Ramaphosa addressing the nation on developments in relation to the country’s response to the Coronavirus pandemic
President Cyril Ramaphosa addressing the nation on developments in relation to the country’s response to the Coronavirus pandemic
Image: GCIS

President Cyril Ramaphosa has cautioned South Africans to be more vigilant against Covid-19 as the country shifts to lockdown alert level one due to a drop in virus infections.

In his announcement last night, Ramaphosa said it was important to return the country’s economy back to normal as the lockdown has had negative impact on the economy. He said the country has seen a drastic drop of daily infection in the past eight weeks.

“Because the new variant is transmitted more easily, it has the potential to infect more people, place a greater strain on our health system and lead to a greater loss of life. Therefore, social distancing is even more critical,” said Ramaphosa.

Some of the new changes include a 12am to 4am curfew, selling of alcohol will be permitted throughout the week except during curfew hours, social, religious, political and cultural gatherings will also be allowed but the people allowed at any of these will be limited to 100 people indoors and 250 people outdoors. Night vigils or other gatherings before or after funerals are still not permitted and nightclubs will remain closed while 33 land border posts were closed in December will remain closed, while the other 20 will remain open.

Only five airports will operate for international travel and they are OR Tambo, Cape Town, King Shaka, Kruger Mpumalanga and Lanseria. Wearing of masks remains mandatory.

“We will only be able to ultimately overcome the pandemic if we continue to practice all the other prevention measures as well. We must do all this both so that we defeat the pandemic and so that we can accelerate our economic recovery. We must do this to restore our country to growth and get people back into work. Even as economic activity returns, even as we roll out our employment stimulus and infrastructure investment programmes, even as we undertake economic reforms with greater urgency, many businesses are still struggling,” said Ramaphosa.

On Saturday, SA received 80,000 doses from Johnson & Johnson (J&J) to accelerate the phase one of the vaccination programme which started 11 days ago. So far 67,000 frontline healthcare workers have been vaccinated. The country will received a further 11 million vaccines from J & , 20,000 from Pfizer and 12 million from Covax. The number of vaccinating sites will be increased from 17 to 49 countrywide.

Phase two vaccination is expected to start next month.

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