NATIONAL NEWS - President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced that the country is moving to Level 1.
“It is time to move to what we call our new normal. Following consultations with various stakeholders the country will move to alert level 1 effective from mid night on Sunday,” said Ramaphosa.
In his address to the nation on developments in South Africa’s risk-adjusted response to the Covid-19 pandemic on Wednesday evening, Ramaphosa raised the number of indoor gatherings to 200 people, while outdoor gatherings will now allow 500 people.
Guests allowed at funerals have been increased to 100, while night vigils are still not allowed.
The curfew period has been changed to between 00:00 and 04:00.
“We will be allowing international travel for business and leisure effective from 1 October,” said Ramaphosa.
Travellers will only be allowed to use three airports – King Shaka Airport, OR Tambo International Airport and Cape Town International Airport. They will be required to present a negative test result not done more than 72 hours prior or be subjected to mandatory quarantine.
Travel may be restricted to and from certain countries that have high infection rates, said Ramaphosa, adding a list of countries will be published based on the latest scientific data.
“In preparation for the re-opening of our borders, South African missions abroad will open for visa applications and all long-term visas will be reinstated.”
The sale of alcohol will be permitted from 09:00 - 17:00 from Mondays to Fridays.
Ramaphosa said the country had made enough progress to move to the new normal which will ease a number of restrictions, while other restrictions remain,
More than 15,000 and more than 600,000 people have been infected and now record on average 2,000 cases a day, from more than 12,000 since the beginning of the lockdown. The recovery rate now stands at 89%.
“We have succeeded in overcoming the worst time of this pandemic,” says Ramaphosa.
The World Health Organisation continues to advise South Africa on how to better deal with the virus and how to effectively reopen the country.
“Although we have made a remarkable progress, people are still getting infected. Our greatest challenge and most important task is to make sure we do not experience a second wave, like other countries.
“We want to avoid this. Some of these countries had even reopened its businesses and had to reimpose a hard lockdown to deal with the resurgence of the virus.”
Testing will be increased, as will the scope of testing and improving contact tracing, including the use of the Covid-19 alert mobile app, which alerts any user if they have been in close contact with anyone who has tested positive for the virus.
“Contact tracing is an important preventative measure to help curb the spread of Covid-19.”
“We are also preparing to receive the vaccine to ensure we get it as soon as it is available. We are also investing in producing and distributing our own vaccine locally.”
The wearing of masks is still mandatory, as is social distancing and the regular washing of hands.