South Africa relaxes COVID-19 restrictions – here is what it means

South Africa relaxes COVID-19 restrictions and here is what it means

South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa has relaxed COVID-19 restrictions and moved the country to adjusted Alert level 3 lockdown following a surge of new infections brought on by the third wave which saw daily infections increase up to 24000.

The relaxation means at Alert level 3, inter-provincial travel is now allowed, restaurants can reopen and alcohol sales can resume, which was not possible under Alert level 4.

“The overall decline in new infections means that it is possible to gradually ease some of the restrictions on gatherings, movement and the sale of alcohol,” Ramaphosa said.

As announced by President Ramaphosa, Alert Level 3 means the following:

  • The hours of curfew will stay the same, starting at 10pm and end at 4am.
  • Interprovincial travel for leisure may resume.
  • Schools to re-open Monday the 26th of July.
  • Non-essential establishments like restaurants, taverns, bars and fitness centres may be opened. These establishments will however need to close by 9pm to allow their employees and patrons to travel home before the start of the curfew.
  • The sale of alcohol from retail outlets for off-site consumption will be permitted between 10am and 6pm from Monday to Thursday. Alcohol sales for on-site consumption will be permitted as per licence conditions up to 8pm.
  • Gatherings will be allowed but will be limited to a maximum of 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors. Where the venue is too small to accommodate these numbers with appropriate social distancing, then no more than 50 percent of the capacity of the venue may be used. Gatherings include religious services, political events and social gatherings. The limits on venue capacity also apply to restaurants, gyms, fitness centres, bars, taverns and similar places.
  • Attendance at funerals and cremations may not exceed 50 people and all social distancing and health protocols must be observed. Night vigils and after-funeral gatherings are still not allowed.

Ramaphosa also announced that from September 1, people between the ages of 18 and 35 will be allowed to get vaccinated. This follows an announcement in early July that people aged between the ages of 35-49 years were eligible to register for vaccination which will begin on August 1. Walk-ins at vaccination sites are also now allowed.

The cumulative number of Covid-19 cases identified in South Africa was 2 377 823, and the total death toll stood at 69 775.

In a Twitter post, the Department of Health said, “The cumulative number of recoveries now stands at 2 158 183, with a recovery rate of 90.8%.”

Ramaphosa commended the country’s ability to increase the number of people who have been vaccinated. The country surpassed 200,000 vaccinations in a single day last week and Ramaphosa said he still hoped to see this number reach 300,000 a day.

South Africa expects to receive over 30 million COVID-19 vaccine doses from Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson in the next three months. This means there will be enough doses for the year, assured Ramaphosa.

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