S.Africa to implement stricter Covid regulations

As coronavirus cases have continues to surge, South Africa will move to lockdown level two from Monday, President Cyril Ramaphosa said in a televised address.

Cases have been increasing over the past four weeks, with an average of 3,745 daily new infections, reports xinhua news agency.

“The number of infections has begun to rise sharply in several parts of the country,” Ramaphosa said on Sunday night, adding that the proportion of Covid positivity rate has more than doubled in the last month from around 4 per cent to more than 11 per cent.

Four provinces including the economic hub Gauteng have entered the third wave.

“The provinces of Free State, Northern Cape, North West and Gauteng have reached the threshold of a third wave of infections,” he noted.

“It may only be a matter of time before the country as a whole will have entered a third wave.”

The President said the Cabinet has therefore decided that the country will be placed on Adjusted Alert Level 2 with effect starting Monday.

Some of the strict measures to be reintroduced on Monday include: the hours of curfew will start at 11 p.m. and end at 4 a.m; non-essential establishments like restaurants, bars and fitness centres will need to close by 10 p.m; and all gatherings will be limited to a maximum of 100 people indoors and 250 people outdoors.

Ramaphosa said more than 67 per cent of public health workers have been inoculated with the Johnson & Johnson jab, which only requires a single dose, while over 480,000 old people have received the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine.

“We have secured enough vaccines to reach all adults in the country, which is around 40 million people,” he said.

This includes 31 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, as well as 20 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine.

“Right now, our foremost priority is to scale up our vaccination campaign to reach as many people as possible, as quickly as possible, in every part of our country,” said Ramaphosa.

As of Monday, South Africa’s overall coronavirus caseload and death toll stood at 1,662,825 and 56,439, respectively.

–IANS

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