President Cyril Ramaphosa said all indicators suggest South Africa passed the peak of the fourth wave. As a result, the Covid-19 curfew – first implemented nearly two years ago – was lifted with immediate effect.
The National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) approved several other changes to the Adjusted Alert Level 1 Covid-19 regulations during a special meeting on Thursday.
SA likely passed fourth wave
Data from the Health Department showed a 29.7% decrease in the number of new cases detected in the week ending 25 December 2021.
A decline in hospital admissions was recorded in all provinces except the Western Cape, while new infection rates declined in all provinces except the Western Cape and Eastern Cape.
He said the NCCC “will continue to closely monitor the situation and will make further adjustments as necessary, particularly if pressure on health facilities increases”.
Vaccination still necessary
Ramaphosa said all the data points to South Africa having “spare capacity for admission of patients even for routine health services.”
However, this doesn’t mean the Covid-19 battle is over. Ramaphosa said vaccination remains the best defence against severe illness, hospitalisation and death.
“All people in South Africa who have not yet done so are encouraged to vaccinate as soon as possible. This includes people who are eligible for booster shots.”
Calls to end curfew
Refusing to wear a mask in public spaces is still a criminal offence, and South Africans are urged to “act cautiously and responsibly over the new year”.
Pressure was mounting this week to get the midnight-to-4am-curfew lifted before New Year’s Eve celebrations kick-off.
AfriForum’s legal team went to the High Court over it, while John Steenhuisen said the Democratic Alliance (DA) “never found [curfew] to be a rational or justifiable denial of freedom.”
READ MORE HERE: Fight rages on over New Year’s Eve curfew