As the country consistently records nearly 20,000 daily new Covid-19 cases in the midst of a third wave, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that South Africa will remain on Adjusted Alert Level 4, with minor adjustments.
Subject to the conditions outlined in regulations since the onset of the pandemic, the following adjustments have been made:
- Schools will now reopen on 26 July, a week later than initially planned.
- Restaurants will now be able to serve patrons but not host more than 50 customers at a time. Smaller restaurants will have to keep to a maximum of 50% of its capacity.
- Gyms and fitness centres canopen
- Agricultural livestock and game auctions can proceed
“In the last two weeks, over 4,200 South Africans have lost their lives to Covid-19,” he said.
Gauteng continues to be the country’s epicentre, accounting for more than half of new infections. However, cases were rapidly increasing in the Western Cape, Limpopo, North West and KwaZulu-Natal.
“Our health system countrywide remains under pressure. Daily hospital admissions across the country are likely to reach the levels observed during the peak of the first two waves. Covid-19 related deaths in hospitals are also increasing,” Ramaphosa said.
Deaths in hospitals had already surpassed those observed at the peak of the first two waves.
Restrictions still in place
- All social, political, religious and other gatherings remain prohibited.
- Curfew remains between 9pm and 4am.
- The sale of alcohol also remains prohibited.
- Wearing a mask that covers your nose and mouth in public
Turning attention to the country’s vaccination programme, Ramaphosa said that to date, over 4.2-million people in South Africa have received a vaccine dose, with one million of these having been done over the past seven weekdays.
“The pace of vaccination has more than doubled in the last month, and will continue to increase,” he said.
Presently, South Africa was on average inoculating 190,000 each weekday.
He said government and the private sector were working together in an unprecedented way to build additional capacity to vaccinate many more people a day. Currently, the vaccination programme is administering jabs on the 60+ and 50+ age groups.
From Thursday, the over 35 age group will be able to register on the Electronic Vaccination Data System and begin getting vaccinations on 1 August.
The programme was also inoculating essential workers in basic education, the police and the defence force.
“We are working to ensure that vaccination sites are located closer to where people live to make it easier for them. We will continue to work with community, religious and traditional leaders to mobilise communities to get vaccinated,” the president said.
Plans are in place in all provinces to expand many sites to vaccinate either six or seven days of the week.
He said this would be achieved by the provision of funds for overtime and the recruitment of additional medical staff and health science students.