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All Additional Lockdown Restrictions

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.

 

Updated List of School Activities Allowed under Current Lockdown

An amendment to the restrictions of the current level 1 lockdown was signed into law on 27 March 2021.  The amendment discussed which activities could resume at schools across South Africa. The conditions however are tough, and no spectators will be allowed and a long list of rules will apply at all times.  The new rules are as follows:

  • A covid-19 compliance officer must be appointed for every venue
  • There must be only one controlled entrance
  • All participants must undergo health and temperature screening
  • Any person entering the venue must undergo health and temperature screening
  • Hand sanitizers must be available at the gate and every person must sanitize their hands
  • Participants must sanitize their hands before and after the event
  • Should a person leave the venue temporarily, the whole health check process will apply when returning
  • A register of all officials and pupils from visiting and hosting schools must be kept for at least 21 days after the event.  It must contain full names, residential addresses, cellphone numbers, telephone numbers or email addresses, and contact details of people living in the same residence.
  • A digital registration and health screening platform may be used to assist with the administration
  • If a person presents with a fever of 38 degrees celsius or shows symptoms of the coronavirus they are not to be allowed into the venue.
  • The maximum number of people for indoor venues is 100 with outdoor venues allowed a maximum of 250.  Should the venue be too small to accommodate these numbers, a 50% capacity rate must be observed.
  • All people must leave the venue as soon as is possible after an event
  • Face masks must be worn at all times
  • Technical officials must arrive early for a Covid-19 protocol briefing
  • All ablution facilities must be sanitized regularly and kept clean.
  • All sporting equipment must be sanitized before and after use.
  • A list of persons from the visiting school must be provided to the hosting school at least 3 days before the event

List of new activities allowed:

  • Oral history
  • Spelling bees
  • Moot court
  • Speech contests
  • Debates
  • School clubs
  • Choir practice
  • Choir rehearsal
  • Choir competitions
  • Inter-school choir events

Eastern Cape may face harsher restrictions

After considerable amounts of speculation regarding a move to Level 3 lockdown in the Eastern Cape, it’s time to put the rumours to bed and be sure about what lies ahead.

While the Freedom Front Plus (FF Plus) has asked Health Minister Zweli Mkhize to play open cards regarding a possible move for the province, the National Health Department has, to a certain extent, set the record straight.

National Department of Health spokesperson Popo Maja told The South African on Monday 30 November 2020 that a move to Level 3 lockdown does not depend on Mkhize or the health department alone. He said any decision regarding tighter lockdown restrictions would depend on the National coronavirus Command Council (NCCC), as well as, Cabinet.

Maja said the situation in the Eastern Cape is no doubt a “really huge concern,” however, a move to Level 3 lockdown has not yet been confirmed.

“I’m not able to confirm whether it is true or not true,” he said when asked whether Level 3 lockdown would be implemented or not.

Maja said that if a certain area is moved to a different lockdown level — in this case Level 3 — he said it would be announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa.

So, as it stands, a definitive move to Level 3 has not yet been confirmed but the idea of it cannot be ruled out completely either. According to the health department, it looks as though a decision will only be announced at the next “family meeting” with Ramaphosa.

Just 10 days ago, on 20 November 2020, Mkhize released the daily COVID-19 statistics. He said he was concerned as the daily new cases breached 3 000. He also said more than half of the new infections emanated from the Eastern Cape leading to “troublesome waters”.

“Of these new cases, more than half (54,4%) are from the Eastern Cape. We are also concerned that the positivity is at 12%, which is higher than what is ideal, i.e. 10% or less,” he said.

“Our concern is that this is a new wave we’re seeing in the Eastern Cape, it will still be classified as a cluster outbreak,” he added.

FF Plus MP and chief spokesperson for Health Philip van Staden said Mkhize must play open cards with the people of the Eastern Cape, as well as, the rest of the country about the possibility of a Level 3 lockdown for the province.

“The FF Plus was dismayed to find out via the media yesterday that the Minister had already discussed the matter with businesspeople, politicians and others in the province and that they had reportedly agreed on a possible Level 3 lockdown,” he said.

“It is disappointing to find out about this in this way, through the media reporting on the statements of a leading figure in the ANC, as the Minister said on Friday after the relevant meeting that had taken place in Port Elizabeth that no decisions on the matter have been reached,” added Van Staden.

Van Staden said Mkhize is playing a dangerous game. He said when issues first arose in the province earlier this year, Mkhize and the province’s MEC for Health tabled an intervention plan to the Portfolio Committee on Health in Parliament. He went on to say that the plan, clearly, was never implemented.

“Now that there is a rise in infections, Minister Mkhize wants to put the Eastern Cape back under Level 3 lockdown. This is all because neither the provincial Department nor the national Department or the Ministry of Health did anything to address and solve the problem earlier,” he said.

“The FF Plus is, thus, imploring Minister Mkhize not to follow this route and instead to focus on improving the healthcare system by appointing more doctors and nurses, ensuring that there is enough medicine and equipment available to protect healthcare workers and strengthening the hands of those who are in the frontlines in the fight against the pandemic,” he added.

News: Lockdown Level 2, what you can and cannot do

On midnight, South Africa will move to Alert Level 2 of the national lockdown.

While the full details of what will be permitted under Level 2 still need to be gazetted, Ramaphosa indicated the following:

Permitted

  1. Interprovincial travel will be allowed, without restrictions
  2. Hotels and guest houses can allow leisure travellers.
  3. The cigarette ban will be completely lifted.
  4. Bars, shebeens and taverns will be allowed to operate.
  5. Alcohol will be permitted for on-site consumption in licensed establishments only up until 22:00
  6. Liquor outlets will be allowed to sell alcohol for off-site consumption from Monday to Thursday during the hours of 09:00 to 17:00 only
  7. Family and social interactions will be allowed, but only in “small groups”
  8. Gyms and fitness centres can reopen
  9. Parks, beaches and natures reserves will be open for outdoor activity

The following restrictions will remain in place:

  1. International travel – beyond what is currently permitted – will still not be allowed.
  2. No gatherings of more than 50 people, including funerals and religious events will be allowed
  3. Spectators are still not permitted at sporting events
  4. The curfew (between 22:00 and 04:00) will remain in place.
  5. It will remain mandatory to wear a mask in public.
  6. Those who can work from home will be encouraged to remain away from the office.
  7. The number of people allowed in stores, restaurants and cinemas and other public spaces will remain restricted.

“The further easing of restrictions presents us with the greatest opportunity since the start of the pandemic to breathe life into our struggling economy,” Ramaphosa said.

Ramaphosa said government is now working on an “urgent” stimulus package, particularly aimed at creating employment.

Lockdown: Random Stop Searches- Bheki Cele

Police minister Bheki Cele says that the South African Police Service (SAPS) will ensure that South Africa’s move to stricter lockdown regulations are enforced.

In a media briefing on Wednesday (15 July), Cele said that this will include increased police visibility, roadblocks and patrols ‘where applicable’ in streets, malls and other areas where people ignore social distancing protocols, Business Tech reported.

Members of the South African Police Service, South African National Defence Force and Traffic Departments will be enforcing the 21:00 to 04:00 daily curfew

“There will also be random stop and search operations to ensure that the prohibition on the transportation of alcohol and tobacco is not being subverted,” he said.

“Throughout all of this, law enforcement officials will be dependent on the cooperation of community members to ensure these operations are handled in the best possible spirit and with the least disruption.”

Cele said that the country’s intelligence services have also been working throughout the pandemic to help track and trace people with the coronavirus.

These services also provide valuable information on trends, patterns & manifestation of Covid-19, both at home and abroad, which has helped inform government’s response, he said.

The announcement on stricter police enforcement comes after president Cyril Ramaphosa announced a host of new lockdown restrictions on Sunday evening (12 July).

“Law enforcement officials have been instructed to act resolutely to enforce compliance with the regulations arresting those that breach them and ensuring that they are successfully prosecuted,” Cele said.

Convictions will result in either fines or jail time depending on the discretion of the court.”

In addition to potential fines for purchasing alcohol and tobacco, Cele warned that those who are caught breaching curfew without a valid permit will be prosecuted.

Cele says those who work at night or early in the morning will have to produce a permit of movement when they are requested to do so. Breaking curfew without a permit or a valid reason will be a breach of the regulations and be prosecuted as such.

Cele says the cluster has also noticed an increase in social gatherings before and after funerals. The night vigil before the burial and the so-called “After Tears” remain prohibited gatherings. No alcohol may be consumed at the actual funeral either.

 

alcohol

LEVEL 3 LIQUOR LET-DOWN LOOMS

LEVEL 3 LIQUOR LET-DOWN LOOMS, WARNS SUPPLY CHAIN PROFESSIONAL BODY

Many South Africans are rejoicing over President Ramaphosa’s latest announcement that the easing of the Covid-19 lockdown regulations will mean they can restock their liquor shelves and wine fridges. When SA moves down to lockdown level 3, alcohol sales will be permitted under specific conditions. But does this mean that your local liquor store will be fully stocked and ready to sell you your favourite tipple?

 

Probably not, warns SAPICS, The Professional Body for Supply Chain Management. “The catastrophic consequences of the hard lockdown and the alcohol ban are deep and far reaching and will not simply disappear when alcohol sales resume. Because supply chains and industries do not exist in isolation, the knock-on effects of lockdown regulations like the alcohol ban are enormous,” comments SAPICS president Keabetswe Mpane.

 

“The profound and potentially long-lasting impact of the alcohol ban serves as a perfect illustration of the length, complexity and inter-dependence of the links in supply chains; and the impact of supply chain management,” she stresses. “The alcohol industry is dependent on the products and services of a multitude of other participants in the economy. That wine on your table or the beer in your hand reached you via a sophisticated supply chain that includes vital role players from diverse industries, many of which you would not immediately link to your preferred alcoholic beverage. These include silica sand miners, glass manufacturers and transporters.”

 

The South African glass industry has reportedly been broken by the alcohol ban. Both glass manufacturers and recyclers have been hard hit. Production of glass containers never stopped during the lockdown, and in level 4, the glass industry was allowed to manufacture to 100% production, under certain conditions. But, in reality, this was not feasible given that 85% of the glass produced is sold to the alcohol industry. “So, without alcohol sales, glass manufacturing was curtailed,” explains Mpane. “This in turn impacted other links in the supply chain, including the producers of the raw materials used to make glass.”

 

These raw materials include silica sand, limestone, soda ash, feldspar, iron slag and cullet. “According to reports, the sole supplier of soda ash in Southern Africa lost 68% of its usual revenue in the first four weeks of lockdown,” she says. Cullet is the glass that is recycled back into the industry. “Because of the alcohol ban and its impact on the glass container industry, demand for cullet dropped, and the local glass recycling industry is reportedly on the verge of collapse.”

 

Others in the alcohol supply chain who have been hard hit by the alcohol ban include transporters. “While they may have been allowed to operate, if their main clients were alcohol producers, they had no work. The small distribution business that served your local liquor store may no longer be in operation, or may have had to scale down its operations,” Mpane says.

 

“The government may be lifting the alcohol ban, but South Africans should be aware that the smooth flow of their favourite drinks into liquor stores will depend on supply chains and effective supply chain management,” she concludes.

 

Issued by Express Communications, on behalf of SAPICS.

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This is how our district based lockdown will work

During an interview with eNCA, Mkhize said the government has tracked the rate of infection on a per-population basis, with a number of metropolitan areas highlighted as areas of concern.

Mkhize said that these are largely the areas with high economic activity.

The areas mentioned by Mkhize include

  • Johannesburg
  • Tshwane
  • Ekurhuleni
  • Cape Town
  • The Garden Route
  • Nelson Mandela bay
  • Durban (eThekwini)
  • KwaDukuza
  • Mangaung (Bloemfontein)

 

The government plans to monitor all of the above areas and cannot allow the relaxation of restrictions in these areas, said Mkhize.

“We will need to bring in a new strategy wherein each of the districts or metros are sub-divided into clusters of wards where we will station a multi-disciplinary team of experts”

Mkhize also added that each district will be awarded an individual lockdown level. This level will be based on the reported number of coronavirus cases per 100,000 residents. These levels will then be reviewed by the government every two weeks.

 

This new district approach by the government has been met with resistance.

Gauteng Premier David Makhura, said in a media briefing on Thursday, “In Gauteng you can’t have Level 3 in Ekurhuleni and Level1 in Johannesburg and Level 2 in Tshwane. We are an integrated city region. People move, they work and live in these spaces simultaneously.”

 

Western Cape Premier Alan Winde said, “The Western Cape will use the process of consultation announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa to make clear our position that the entire province must move down to Level 3 as soon as possible.”

 

“We need the public to help us to continue to fight the pandemic. To fight this outbreak we need everyone to co-operate and create conditions to reduce the spread of the virus. Our main focus is we have lives to save,” the minister said.

Source: Businesstech

Businesses and countries have placed restrictions on using Zoom

A London based bank decided to distance itself from Zoom after hackers exposed security flaws relating to Zoom.

This included inserting vulgar images into presentations or shouting racial insults to participants.

Unfortunately these “Zoom Bombings” have rattled users from around the world who are using this service to stay connected during lockdown.

Since March 2020, Zoom has an estimate of 200 million people using its system everyday.

Banks around the world are extremely worried about cyber security relating to customer information.

Germany and Taiwan, as well as Elon Musk’s SpaceX to New York City’s public school system has placed restrictions on Zoom.

In a statement, Zoom said many global customers including financial firms, telecommunications companies, universities and government agencies had performed “exhaustive security reviews” of its technology and chosen it as a service.

Eric Yaun, Zoom Founder, appointed former Facebook Inc Security Chief, Alex Stamos as an advisor on safety and privacy concerns to quell the immense backlash against Zoom’s alleged flaws.

 

Source: SABCNEWS

Photo Credit: blankspaces

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