President Cyril Ramaphosa relaxes level 3 lockdown restrictions.South Africans were happy today as President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that he was easing the lockdown restrictions. He said this decision was brought about by the decline in the number of newly reported Covid-19 cases in the country.
In a state of the nation address which occurred on the 1st of February the President pointed out that some of the restrictions will be lifted including the ban on the sale of alcohol.
“We have recorded our lowest daily increase in infections since the beginning of December last year,” Ramaphosa said. “The average rate of new infections has been steadily coming down over the past few weeks, indicating that we have now passed the peak of the second wave.”
“The average number of daily new infections has come down to almost half of what it was. The number of hospital admissions has now also fallen to 295 on 29 January,” he said.
As a result of this, lockdown restrictions across the country will be eased, including the following:
1)The sale of alcohol at licensed premises for off-site consumption is permitted from 10:00 to 18:00 from Monday to Thursday.
2)The sale of alcohol at licensed premises for on-site consumption is permitted throughout the week from 10:00 to 20:00.
3)The curfew will now be enforced from 23:00 to 04:00
4)Establishments where people go for entertainment or otherwise will need to close at 22:00
5)Faith-based gatherings will now be permitted to health and gathering protocols.
6)Public places such as beaches and parks will be reopened subject to health protocols.
7)The wearing of masks when in public remains compulsory.
He further touched on the issue of the vaccine saying that the country has received its first batch of the much awaited for Covid-19 vaccine the AstraZeneca vaccine which comprises of 1 million doses. In terms of taking the vaccine he said no one will be forced to take it and if one decides not to take they will not be persecuted for it, you will still be allowed to travel anywhere or take part in any activity.
Ramaphosa gave his thanks and appreciation on how fast the vaccine was developed and thanked all the South African researchers and those who provided themselves to be test subjects for the vaccine.
“The speed and scale at which new vaccines have been developed is unprecedented in human history and represents the monumental progress that humanity has achieved in the face of a common threat,” he said.
“Now that the vaccines have arrived, they will be tested at the National Control Laboratory to confirm that their integrity has been maintained during transportation from India to South Africa.”
He gave a brief overview of how the vaccine will be dispersed and said that Health workers are their main priority and further noted that another 500,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine is expected to arrive later this month.
The President said the virus has brought about economic difficulties for the country which was brought about by the lockdown. He spoke at a Nedlac event today were he pointed out that the concept of choosing between saving lives and the economy was a fallacy.
“We have found that this is a false choice,” he said. “The restrictions we have had to put in place to flatten the curve have had a severe impact on the economy and employment.”
“But these effects would have been far worse and probably would have lasted much longer if we had allowed the pandemic to decimate our population – not to mention the unbearable human cost.”
He said that it has been a hard road for the government as they tried to navigate and maintain a balance in containing infections and ensuring that the pandemic does not leave the country’s economy in a non-recoverable state.
“We have done so knowing that the effects of an uncontrolled pandemic would not only cause great human suffering now but could potentially cause our economy irreversible damage,” Ramaphosa said.
“That is why we need to overcome this pandemic – not only to save lives but also to protect +livelihoods, now and into the future.
We hope the vaccine aids in eradicating the virus and that it does reach people in due time.