By Mashoto Semosa
President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed the nation last night at the Union Buildings and informed that the country will be moving to level 3 with effect immediately.
Ramaphosa stated that all provinces are experiencing an increase in infections and more specifically: the Gauteng, North West, Free State and Northern Cape provinces are already in the third wave. He mentioned that there has been a 48% increase in the people who die daily due to the virus and that in the previous seven days, there has been 7500 daily infections. President Ramaphosa urges South Africans to act decisively in order to save lives and further says, “Let’s remind ourselves of how the virus is spread”.
For those who have been in contact with an infected person, Ramaphosa instructs such people to isolate for at least 10 days. He says this stating that hospital admissions in the past 14 days are 59% higher than the preceding days due to covid-19. “When health facilities are are overwhelmed, more lives are lost”, Ramaphosa said.
Ramaphosa further addressed that, firmer actions were a need and the cabinet has then decided to move the country to alert level 3 with effect from last night. He mentioned a few changes that were to be implemented saying that firstly, the curfew hours will change to between 10pm and 4am. Secondly, all non-essential establishments such as restaurants and bars will close at 9pm to enable their staff to travel home before the start of the curfew.
Thirdly, all gatherings are limited to a maximum of 50 people indoors and a 100 people outdoors including political events and religious gatherings. Funeral attendances should not exceed 50 people and health protocols should be observed. The sale of alcohol from retail outlets for offsite consumption will be permitted between 10am and 4pm Mondays – Thursday and alcohol consumption in public spaces is prohibited.
President Cyril Ramaphosa said,”we are all aware that our vaccination programme has experienced several delays” but even though that is so, 480 000 health workers have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine thus far and that the pace of vaccinations has picked up as 80 000 people are being vaccinated daily at 570 sites in public and private sectors. Ramaphosa continues to assure that the problem with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine has been resolved further saying, “the Aspen plant in Gqeberha in the Eastern Cape is now able to go ahead to produce new doses.
“By the end of June, we expect to have recieved a total of 3.1 million Pfizer doses.”, said Ramaphosa. He further addressed that there is an estimated vaccination capacity to vaccinate at least 150 000 people daily and they are planning to increasing that number to 250 000 daily as soon as possible. South Africans are urged to wear masks that cover the mouth and the nose when out in public and that it is a criminal offence to not adhere to the covid-19 regulations.