President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced stricter measures to mitigate the impact of the second wave of the coronavirus (COVID-19) as the country expects to hit the 1 million infections soon.
South Africa is currently getting close to 900 000 coronavirus cases.
Addressing the nation from the union buildings, President Ramaphosa says the cumulative number of coronavirus cases in the country is currently at 866 127.
KwaZulu-Natal, Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng are leading the second wave of the virus.
“These figures are a great concern. There can no longer be any doubt that South Africa has entered a second wave of coronavirus infections we have been talking about.”
The daily average of the new cases in the last seven days is 74% higher than the previous seven days.
“This time the number of new cases has increased from a daily average of around 3 800 to just over 6 600. The daily average of coronavirus deaths has increased by 50%.”
He has raised concerns about the increasing number of infections among young people.
“For the first time in this pandemic, most of the new infections are amongst young people, particularly those in the age group of 15-19 years.”
The National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) has identified large gatherings as the leading cause of the spread of the virus.
Ramaphosa says, “There are probably many reasons for this massive spike in infections, but some key contributors are now becoming clearer. Gatherings – especially social gatherings and parties – are the largest source of outbreaks. In many of these gatherings, social distancing is not being observed, venues are crowded and not adequately ventilated, hand sanitiser is not readily available, and people are not wearing masks.”
The president has urged South Africans to adhere to the safety protocols.
“Just as we did during Easter, we need to once again adhere to the basic health protocols. If we do not do things differently this festive season, we will greet the new year not with joy, but with sorrow.”
He has asked citizens to keep the festive season celebrations small. Church gatherings have been restricted to 100 people indoors and 250 outdoors.
The Sarah Baartman and Garden Route districts have been declared as hotspots. This is after Nelson Mandela Bay was declared a hotspot.
Ramaphosa says the same additional restrictions will apply to these two districts as in Nelson Mandela Bay.
Beaches, parks and alcohol
To curb the virus, a nationwide curfew has been imposed at parks and beaches.
“Beaches and parks that are open to the public will only be open between 9am and 6pm. The situation will be monitored daily by local authorities to ensure compliance with the regulations on gatherings and the prohibition of alcohol.”
The beaches and public parks of the Northern Cape and the Western Cape – with the exception of the Garden Route – will remain open to the public over the festive season. Festivals, live music, and live performances at beaches are prohibited.
“In KwaZulu-Natal beaches and public parks, this will be closed on what are traditionally the busiest days of the season. These days are the 16th of December, the 25th , 26, the 31st , as well as the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd of January 2021.”
Alcohol will be sold only between 10am and 6pm from Monday to Thursday.
However, Ramaphosa has also announced that registered wineries and wine farms may continue to offer tastings and wine sales to the public for off-site consumption over weekends.
Source: SABC News