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SA Lockdown Level 5 Rumours – Are They True?

Lockdown Level 5

Rumours of a return to a hard level 5 lockdown have been circulating around South Africa and we all have our heads in our hands waiting in anticipation for the President to announce a return to the strictest lockdown measures. But will we be hearing about a return to lockdown level 5 tonight? We look at the facts.

On Sunday, I received a forwarded WhatsApp message that read:

“The National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) will be meeting this afternoon following strong calls from hospitals and healthcare workers to implement a harsher lockdown. Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu confirmed that members of the NCCC were recalled from leave to address the concerns as cases of Covid-19 continue to soar by the day. It is expected that stricter regulations will be discussed. Presidency spokesperson Tyrone Seale says the meeting will be taking place this afternoon but could not confirm when President Cyril Ramaphosa will address the nation on an update.

The presidency have confirmed that President Cyril Ramaphosa will address the nation tomorrow evening amid at the Covid-19 cases which has now risen by a record 14 000 over the past 24 hours.

It’s believed that the President will take South Africa to level 5 of the lockdown for a period of 7 days starting tomorrow midnight. Its a total lockdown for a week. Hospitals are overwhelmed by trauma and Covid-19 cases continued our source from the Presidency.”

And, while this and similar messages spread around the country like wildfire on countless social media platforms, we did not hear anything from the NCCC or the president, while government spokesperson, Phumla Williams, posted an image of the message and claimed that it was fake news.

According to News24, Williams also said that the necessary steps have not been taken to alter lockdown restrictions and it is highly unlikely that President Ramaphosa will be addressing the nation at all this week, unless there is a drastic change in circumstances regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.

The meetings that need to take place in order to plan changes to lockdown restrictions typically occur at least two days before any announcements are made and no such a meeting has been held. Cabinets meet on a bi-weekly basis, unless meetings are called under exceptional circumstances, as was the case before the president announced the return to Level 3 restrictions.

So you can breathe a sigh of relief (for now, knowing that, for tonight at least, you won’t have to fear the scary prospect of a return to lockdown level 5. However, with the current set of restrictions set to expire on Friday 15 January, it is likely that you’ll still be hearing from the president some time soon.

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