Last night, President Ramaphosa addressed South Africans in a speech in which he outlined a new set of restrictions to be put in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Ramaphosa announced that there will be tighter restrictions on public gatherings and a longer curfew as the country heads into the festive season. Cases are on the rise in South Africa, with the seven-day moving average increasing by approximately 20%, according to SowetanLIVE, prompting fears of a so-called “second wave” of infections as we head into 2021.
In the President’s speech, he made it clear that all signs are indicating that we are or at least will be experiencing a second wave. With 866 127 recorded coronavirus cases in South Africa, Ramaphosa expanded the declaration of Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality as a hotspot region with tighter restrictions to include the Garden Route region and the Sarah Baartman districts in the Western Cape.
Ramaphosa also stressed how crucial it will be for South Africans to practice vigilance in the festive season and said that the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) will be imposing new restrictions across the country, including:
- There will be stricter enforcement on wearing masks (correctly) in public spaces and offices and failure to comply could result in a fine or even a short term prison sentence;
- Public gatherings are limited to 100 people for indoor events and 250 for outdoor events;
- Post funeral gatherings (so-called “after-tears” parties) are prohibited;
- Beaches/parks in high-infection rate areas such as the Garden Route and the Eastern Cape will be closed throughout the period from 16 December until 3 January.
- Beaches/parks in KwaZulu Natal will be closed on the busiest days, such as December 16, 26, 31, New Year’s Day and January 3.
- Festivals and public gatherings will be prohibited from beaches and will only be allowed to remain operational between 9am and 6pm
- All Alcohol sales will be limited from Monday to Thursday between 10am and 6pm
- A curfew from 11pm to 4am will come into effect throughout the festive season
Ramaphosa added in his speech that these restrictions will only be reviewed again in January, at which time changes will be determined by the rate of infection throughout the country and therefore, he urged South Africans to adhere to the restrictions in order to curb infections, so the restrictions don’t have to be enforced any longer than necessary.
He said there is no need for a stricter lockdown at the moment, because the country has been prepared to deal with a rise in cases.