Covid-19: President Cyril Ramaphosa implements harsher lockdown measures for Nelson Mandela Bay

Johannesburg – The president of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa has announced new lockdown measures for the country in his latest Covid-19 address to the nation.

Ramaphosa began his address offering his condolences to families of those who lost their lives to the pandemic. He stressed the dangers of a second wave and noted that SA has dropped from number 5 on the global list of countries with the most Covid-19 cases, to 14th on the list of infections globally.

Ramaphosa said the total of hospital admissions related to Covid-19 have reached over 5 800 in the country.

The president pointed out the Eastern and Western Cape having an increased number of Covid-19 related deaths.

Ramaphosa said there are parts of the country where people are not following safety protocols to quell the spread of the virus.

He said that government will be putting the resurgence plan into action.

Ramaphosa pleaded with the country to help manage the outbreak by following the basic safety protocols such as wearing a mask and socially distancing.

Nelson Mandela Bay has been declared a coronavirus hotspot, Ramaphosa announced.

Click here to read the full address by the president. 

Above the level 1 regulations, the new restrictions will include: 

  • Curfew – 10pm-4am
  • Sale of alcohol – 10am -6pm – Monday to Thursday
  • Alcohol consumption in public places is strictly forbidden
  • Gatherings, including religious gatherings may not be attended by more than 100 people in an enclosed environment and 250 people in an open (outside) environment.
  • No initiation schools will be allowed in Nelson Mandela Bay.

“Additional restrictions on large gatherings in hotspot areas are essential to stop “super-spreader events”. Weddings, funerals and other large gatherings pose a big risk for Covid-19 outbreaks, especially where social distancing and ventilation are difficult,” Ramaphosa said.

On alcohol sales, Ramaphosa said, “Restrictions on the sale of alcohol in coronavirus hotspots will assist us in reducing the health and social risks associated with alcohol consumption and help ensure that hospitals have the capacity to treat Covid-19 patients.”


On the Eastern Cape, Ramaphosa said, “Following extensive consultation with traditional leaders, we have agreed that the summer initiation season in the Eastern Cape may go ahead. This is because traditional leaders in the Eastern Cape have submitted a risk adjusted plan that has been approved by Departments of Health and Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs.”

“This plan includes strict adherence to health protocols, including screening of initiates, the provision of personal protective equipment and the provision of water for hygiene and to prevent dehydration.”

Ramaphosa said that the rest of the country is continuously being monitored as well.

Ramaphosa said, ” In the coming days the Minister of Health will be visiting the Sarah Baartman District and the Garden Route to assess the situation and to engage with various stakeholders in the province.”

“Based on this assessment and the development of the disease in these areas, the National Coronavirus Command Council will determine the appropriate course of action.”

The president said that to ensure that current prevention measures are maintained, the National State of Disaster will be extended to the 15th of January 2021 in line with the Disaster Management Act.

All existing Level 1 restrictions remain in force throughout the country.

Vaccine

“As we have said in the past the only viable defence we will have against Covid-19 will be the vaccine. There are now many initiatives in the world to speed up the development of a vaccine,”  Ramaphosa said.

“We continue to collaborate with our partners in the international community to ensure that all countries have access to an effective and affordable vaccine. We are participating in the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 Global Vaccine Access Facility – known as the Covax facility – which aims to pool resources and share vaccine development risk and thus ensure equitable access to vaccines when they become available.”

Ramaphosa said that the Solidarity Fund will be making the initial contribution of R327 million towards this vaccine procurement on behalf of our country.

“We are also encouraged by the promising results from three trials of candidate vaccines, which have shown efficacy levels of between 70 and 95 per cent.   We await confirmation from medicine regulators that these vaccines are safe, effective and suitable for our needs. In South Africa, our own Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) will review the approval applications when received from the developers and authorise their use,”  the president said during his address.


Ramaphosa said, “But let us remember that until a vaccine is developed and distributed, we remain our own best protection against COVID-19.   It is through our everyday actions that we will keep ourselves and others safe.   It is through wearing a mask in public at all times.”

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