SA moves to Alert Level 4 as Delta variant takes hold

South Africa has moved to Adjusted Alert Level 4 for 14 days as the seven-day average of new daily Covid-19 infections nationally has overtaken the peak of the first wave in July last year, and will soon overtake the peak of the second wave experienced in January this year. The virulent Delta strain of the disease is responsible for the spike, President Cyril Ramaphosa said last night.
President Cyril Ramaphosa
President Cyril Ramaphosa

The Delta variant of Covid-19 is rapidly displacing the previously dominant Beta variant. Gauteng now accounts for more than 60% of new cases in the country and with the exceptions of the Northern Cape and Free State, infections are rising rapidly in all other provinces.

He said the variant is more transmissible, more contagious and there is mounting evidence that people who have had the Beta variant don't have full immunity against the Delta variant. In addition, he said that the measures that were in place under Amended Alert Level 3 were not sufficient to curb the spread of the virus..

The Delta variant has now been detected in five of the provinces, namely the Eastern Cape, Free State, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and Western Cape.

Restrictions


Under Adjusted Alert Level 4, the following measures are now in place.

  • Funerals and cremations are permitted, but attendance may not exceed 50 people and all social distancing and health protocols must be observed.
  • Night vigils, after-funeral gatherings and ‘after-tears’ gatherings are not allowed
  • Public spaces, such as beaches and parks, will remain open. However, no gatherings will be permitted.
  • Visits to old age homes, care facilities and other ‘congregant settings’ will be restricted.
  • Restaurants and other eateries will only be permitted to sell food for take-away or delivery.

Education


Ramaphosa said schools will start closing on Wednesday, and all schools will be expected to be closed by Friday.


Contact classes at tertiary institutions will end by Wednesday with limited access to the institutions. Residences will however remain open.

Economy


The president said most businesses will continue to operate at full capacity and should not be affected.

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