President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced that the country will now move to Level 1 lockdown due to the decline in Covid-19 cases.
“The decline is because change in behaviour – with most people adhering to the Covid-19 regulations which were out in place in December, and the public health sector helping containing the virus,” Ramaphosa said addressing the nation on Sunday evening.
During the eased lockdown level 1:
- The hours of the curfew will now be from midnight to 4am
- Gatherings will be permitted, subject to limitations on size, adherence to social distancing and other health protocols.
- Social, cultural and religious gatherings are now allowed – 100 people for indoor gatherings and 250 people for outdoor gatherings. Where the venue is too small to accommodate these numbers with appropriate social distancing, then no more than 50% of the capacity of the venue may be used.
- Night vigils or other gatherings before or after funerals are still not permitted.
- Nightclubs will remain closed.
- The sale of alcohol will be permitted, according to normal licence provisions. However, no alcohol may be sold during the hours of curfew.
- Only five airports will be open for international travel with standard infection control measures. These are OR Tambo, Cape Town, King Shaka, Kruger Mpumalanga and Lanseria airports.
- The wearing of masks in public places is still mandatory, and failure to wear a mask when required remains a criminal offence.
- The 33 land border posts that have been closed throughout this period will remain closed, while the other 20 will remain open.
The new alert level will come into effect later this evening once the regulations have been gazetted, said Ramaphosa.
The President has urged South Africans to continue adhering to the lockdown regulations, warning against the possible third wave.
A year later
Friday marks the one year anniversary since the first case of Covid-19 was identified in the country.
“A year later we have a much clearer picture of how to deal with the virus, with South African scientists helping our country and globally in identifying new variants.”
More than 67,000 healthcare workers have been vaccination in the last 10 days.
The country recently signed an agreement with Johnson & Johnson to secure 11 million doses.
Of these doses, 2.8 million doses will be delivered in the second quarter and the rest spread throughout the year, said Ramaphosa.
South Africa also secured 20 million doses from Pfizer, which will be delivered from the second quarter, and 12 million vaccine doses from the Covax facility.
The country is also in the process of finalising its dose allocation from the African Union.
“The vaccination campaign has so far gone extremely very well. All provinces have established vaccination sites and have put in place expansion plans,” said the President.
“Of the 49 sites that will be increased, 17 sites will be in the private hospital sector and the rest will be in the public health sector. We will begin our second phase of vaccination in late April. We will be secured when it comes to vaccines,” said Ramaphosa.