Last night saw President Rhamaposa take to the podium to address the nation as the number of COVID-19 infections has increased rapidly. Ramaphosa announced the reintroduction of a number of lockdown restrictions as the country struggles with a rise in infections.
In his national address on Sunday evening (July 12), Ramaphosa stated that South Africa is now expecting a surge of infections, citing that the “storm is now upon us”.
Ramaphosa stated that the nation currently has a total of 260,242 confirmed cases, with as many as 12,000 new cases being reported daily. If you do the math, this means that there are 500 new cases being reported per hour.
He went on to add that more than 4,079 fatalities have been reported in South Africa, to date. The South African president also stated that Gauteng is fast approaching 100,000 cases, with the Eastern Cape nearing 50,000 cases and the Western Cape will soon hit 80,000 reported cases.
Moreover, he also stated that the country’s provinces would see different “peaks” in Coronavirus cases between the end of this month to September.
“While the surge in infections is expected, the force and speed which they have progressed have quite understandably caused concern amongst us,” he said.
“The coronavirus storm is far fiercer and more destructive than any other we have experienced before.”
New (old) restrictions reinstated.
While most South African citizens have taken the precautionary measures to diminish the spread of the coronavirus, Ramaphosa stated that there are many who continue to ignore regulations, and thus have failed to take the necessary steps to protect themselves and others.
These people include those who have not adhered to restrictions on social gatherings by organising parties and people who have failed to wear masks in public places. Furthermore, the president also stated that there have been many funerals taking place with more than 50 people in attendance.
In light of this, the president stated that the nation’s National coronavirus Command Council deliberated on the possibility of returning all or specific regions of the country to a higher lockdown level.
However, it has been noted that this move is unlikely to decrease the number of coronavirus cases while causing additional harm to the country’s already flailing economy.
Thus, instead, the president stated that the government would be “tightening” the existing regulations, which includes:
- The nation will remain in its current lockdown level at 3.
- The wearing of cloth masks is mandatory and includes stricter rules regarding wearing of masks in the workplace and while commuting. Further details on regulations of this issue are set to be added to the gazette at a later date.
- Taxis making longer trips will need to adhere to the 70% occupancy rule, while taxis on shorter routes are allowed to increase capacity at 100%, while subject to stringent health protocols.
- The sale, dispensing and distribution of alcohol has been suspended with immediate effect.
- The curfew we experienced in level 4 and 5 of lockdown has been reinstated between 9 pm, and 4 am except for those who travel for work or require urgent medical attention. The curfew comes into effect today (Monday, July 13).
- Parks will remain open for exercise, but social gatherings within them are strictly prohibited.
- Visiting your families or other social visits remain prohibited.
Lastly, President Ramaphosa added that the nation’s current national state of disaster has been extended until August 15 as a part of these new lockdown precautions. Further details on the new regulations are expected to be announced at a later date.