President Cyril Ramaphosa confirmed in his ‘family meeting’ on Sunday, July 11, that the country will remain on an adjusted alert level 4 lockdown for an extended 14-day period. The news follows Cabinet’s reviewed measures to curb the COVID-19 pandemic.
The extension comes as South Africa still reports a high number of COVID-19 cases across the country as 21 610 new cases were recorded on Saturday July, 10.
Meanwhile, it’s good news for the restaurant industry, who have been permitted to re-open under strict conditions.
Here’s a summary of Ramaphosa’s address, including what is and is not prohibited under adjusted alert level 4.
- The President reiterated the force of the Delta variant and its effects on the rapid increase in COVID-19 cases.
- As things stand now, infections remain extremely high. We’re experiencing a third wave more potent than the first and second waves.
- For the past two weeks, the country has recorded an average of nearly 20 000 new cases daily. At present, the country has more than 200 000 active COVID cases.
- In the last two weeks, over 4 200 South Africans have lost their lives to the virus.
- Whilst Gauteng accounts for more than half of these cases, infections are rapidly increasing in the Western Cape, Limpopo, North West, KZN, and Mpumalanga.
- Our healthcare systems remain under pressure. By next week, daily hospital admissions are likely to reach levels observed in the peak of the first two waves. Deaths have surpassed those at the peak of the first wave.
- Cabinet has decided to maintain the country at adjusted alert level 4 for another 14 days (now until July 25).
What this means:
- All gatherings remain prohibited.
- Curfew is from 9pm-4am.
- Only those with permission to do so may leave their homes during this period.
- The sale of alcohol remains prohibited.
- Schools remain closed until July 26.
- Wearing a mask remains compulsory.
The following adjustments will be made over the next 14 days:
- Restaurants and eateries will be able to operate. They may not accommodate more than 50 people at a time, or for smaller venues, more than 50% of their normal capacity.
- Gyms and fitness centres may also open.
- Activities such as agricultural livestock and game auctions will be allowed subject to the conditions outlined in the regulations.
- Reducing instances where people are in close proximity helps to contain infections. COVID-19 spreads at events like funerals and office meetings etc.
- Religious, social and political gatherings are therefore prohibited. This includes funerals.
- Reducing alcohol harm frees up much needed capacity at healthcare facilities to deal with COVID-19 cases.
- Over 4.2 million people have been vaccinated thanks to the vaccine programme, with one million of these being done over the past seven week days.
- The pace of vaccinations has more than doubled in the last month and will continue to increase.
- Presently, over 190 000 people are being vaccinated every week day.
- The programme is currently vaccinating both the 60 and 80 age groups.
- From this coming Thursday, July 15, those over 35 will be able to register on the electronic vaccination data system.
- On August 1, Cyril Ramaphosa hopes to commence with the vaccinations of the 35+ age group.
- All those who qualify to be vaccinated are encouraged to pre-register to speed up the process. However, walk-ins will be attended to.
- Aspen will be delivering over 17 million Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine doses to South Africa over the next three months, commencing in July. J&J vaccines requires only a single dose.
- Ramaphosa slammed the sharing of false, fake, and old videos on social media that are creating confusion or are misleading.
- The UIF TERS scheme will be extended to those sectors that have been affected. The details of the full scheme will be published.
- All business licences that expired will remain valid in order to help businesses that have been affected. New business licences will be valid until end December 2022 and no licence fee will be required.
“We are building up not shutting down.”
In closing, the President addressed the ongoing violence and protests currently playing out in some parts of the country. Here is what he had to say, in summary:
- While there are those who may be hurt or angry at this moment there can never be any justification to embark on violent or destructive actions.
- All South Africans must condemn violence based on ethnic reasons or tribalism.
- Let us be clear that as a nation we will not tolerate any acts of criminality or vandalism. Those who are involved will be arrested and prosecuted. Those found guilty of violating lockdown regulations will receive penalty without fear or favour.
Here are the four ways citizens can register for a vaccine:
- Online registration platform available on the SA Coronavirus website.
- Dialling *134*832# and registering via USSD.
- Sending the word “register” via WhatsApp to 0600 123 456.
- Calling the national toll-free call centre on 0800 029 999
Everybody is encouraged to avoid crowded spaces, ensure there is adequate ventilation, wear a mask and sanitise hands regularly.