President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the extension of the National State of Disaster for another month until December, 15.
In an address to the country about the state of the COVID-19 pandemic in South Africa, Ramaphosa expressed his concern about the dip in social distancing and mask-wearing across the country and the areas where the virus is having a resurgence.
“COVID-19 is far from over it is very much still here and it will remain with us for some time to come,” said Ramaphosa.
Small hotspot management
South Africa overall has seen a relatively stable last two months, with declines in infections and deaths. He acknowledged that COVID fatigue has led to some hotspots, which are being monitored. These include areas in the Eastern Cape, Free State, Garden Route and Cape Town Metro in the Western Cape.
He specifically identified the Eastern Cape as a resurgence hotspot with cases being 50% higher than last week. He explained that a resurgence prevention plan is being implemented to gain control over the situation.
“[This] in essence should be a wake up call to all of us. We cannot relax and we cannot be complacent in out approach to COVID-19,” said Ramaphosa.
“I’m getting increasingly concerned by what I’m seeing on social media and television where people are holding big parties, as though the virus does not exist.”
Extension of grants and return to normal shopping hours
The COVID-19 grant is being extended until January 2021 to help those who are unemployed and don’t have access to any other grants. In addition, UIF COVID-19 TERS is also being extended for another month.
Although remaining at Alert Level 1, Ramaphosa announced that normal trading hours will be restored to all stores including those selling liquor.
All international visitors allowed
Previously, countries were added to a high-risk list and those from that country were not allowed to enter South Africa. Ramaphosa announced that this will be lifted, with all international visitors allowed to visit as long as they follow the correct protocols and provide a COVID-19 certificate.
“By using rapid tests and strict monitoring we intend to limit the spread of the infection through importation. We expect that these measures will greatly assist businesses in the tourism and hospitality sectors,” he said.
5 days of national mourning
Five days of national mourning were also announced to remember the victims of both COVID-19 and gender-based violence and femicide between November 25 and November 29. Flags across the country will fly half-mast between 6am and 6pm. Ramaphosa asked South Africans to wear black armbands or other signs of mourning to signify their respect of the dead during this time.
Ramaphosa also expressed his condolences to the family of outgoing auditor-general Kimi Makwetu, who died earlier this evening after a long battle with lung cancer.
Picture: The Presidency/ Twitter