The President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, has extended South Africa’s level 4 lockdown for another 14 days, with restrictions remaining in place until the 25th of July.
In his address to the nation on Sunday (11 July), Ramaphosa said that the last two weeks of restrictions were necessary to curb the third wave of infections in South Africa which has been caused by the fast-spreading Delta variant of Covid-19.
At present, the country has over 200,000 active Covid-19 cases. In the last two weeks alone, over 4,200 South Africans have also lost their lives to the Covid-19 virus.
“Our health system countrywide remains under pressure. By next week, daily hospital admissions across the country are likely to reach the levels observed during the peak of the first two waves. Covid-19 related deaths in hospitals are also increasing, and have surpassed those observed at the peak of the first wave,” the president said.
While Gauteng is still the epicenter of coronavirus infections, Ramaposa said that cases are surging in other provinces with the healthcare sector increasingly under severe strain. Infections are rapidly increasing in the Western Cape province, Limpopo, North West, KwaZulu-Natal, and Mpumalanga, he said.
As a result, the Cabinet, after consultation with the provinces and invested parties, has decided to maintain the country at adjusted alert level 4 for an additional two weeks.
The Following Restrictions Will Remain in Place:
- The evening curfew remains in place from 21h00 – 04h00, and only those with permission to do so may leave their homes during this time;
- All social, religious, and political gatherings remain prohibited;
- Schools will remain closed until 26 July;
- The sale of alcohol remains prohibited.
The Following Restrictions Have Been Eased
- Restaurants and eateries will be able to operate as normal while observing strict protocols – Such establishments may not accommodate more than 50 people at a time or, for smaller venues, more than 50% of their normal capacity;
- Certain other venues such as gyms and fitness centers may also reopen;
- Agricultural activities such as livestock auctions will be permitted.
The president also said that Cabinet has decided that all business licenses and permits that expired between March 2020 and June 2021 will remain valid until 31 December 2022. South Africa reported 16,302 new cases on Sunday, considerably lower than Friday and Saturday, taking the total number of active reported cases to 208,709.
Up to 53,653 tests were conducted in the last 24 hours which represents a 30.4% positivity rate. A further 151 Covid-19 related deaths have been reported, taking total fatalities to 64,289 to date.
Financial relief for Covid
The Unemployment Insurance Fund, or UIF, has decided to extend the Covid-19 TERS scheme to businesses that have been impacted by the adjusted level 4 lockdown. The full details of the businesses and sectors that could qualify and benefit from this will be published in a gazette shortly, Ramaphosa said.