President Cyril Ramaphosa will address the nation tonight on developments in relation to the country’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. This announcement follows meetings of the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC), the President’s Coordinating Council (PCC), and a special sitting of Cabinet on Sunday.
Ramaphosa is expected to announce new lockdown restrictions for COVID-19 hotspots, as a way to curb the country’s second coronavirus wave.
This follows health minister Zweli Mkhize announcing last night that the country recorded 7,999 new COVID-19 cases over the past 24 hours.
170 more COVID-19 deaths were also recorded, which came mostly from the Eastern Cape and Western Cape.
Healthcare facilities in some of the country’s hotspots, notably the Eastern Cape and Western Cape, have been struggling to cope with demand.
Last week, Mkhize said South Africa has officially hit the second wave of the virus after meeting resurgence criteria formulated by scientists and modelling teams.
He said four provinces accounted for most of the new infections – Western Cape, Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, and Gauteng.
The Department of Health has sent letters to all MECs urging them to prepare their respective provinces for a second wave.
To address the rising number of COVID-19 cases, Ramaphosa is expected to announce new restrictions.
These restrictions are expected to target coronavirus hotspots instead of being applied nationally.
The City Press reported that additional restrictions which are being considered include stricter curfew times and earlier closing times for restaurants.
Additional limits on public gatherings – such as funerals and religious events – are also a possibility.
According to the City Press, there was a fierce debate as to how to control the influx of people to beaches during the festive season, too.
“Options tabled included shutting down beaches completely or limiting the number of people allowed to access them,” the report said.
It should be noted that these are currently only proposals and the results of these discussions will only be announced by Ramaphosa tonight.
The address will be broadcast and streamed on a range of platforms that are accessible to South Africans and international audiences.
The charts below, courtesy of Mediahack, show the rise in local coronavirus cases in December.