President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced that Cabinet has approved a move from adjusted level 3 lockdown to level 1, effective evening of Sunday 28 February.
This move comes as new daily infections have dipped to around the 1,000-mark in recent days as South Africa comes out of a devastating second wave of infections.
Level 1 lockdown restrictions see an easing of many of the tighter restrictions imposed under level 3.
These are the new restrictions:
- The hours of the curfew will now be from 12 midnight to 4am.
- Gatherings will be permitted, subject to limitations on size, adherence to social distancing and other health protocols. These include religious, social, political and cultural gatherings.
- The maximum number of people allowed at any gathering is 100 people indoors or 250 people outdoors.
- Where the venue is too small to accommodate these numbers with appropriate social distancing, then no more than 50% of the capacity of the venue may be used.
- Night vigils or other gatherings before or after funerals are still not permitted.
- Nightclubs will remain closed.
- The sale of alcohol will be permitted, according to normal licence provisions. However, no alcohol may be sold during the hours of curfew.
- The wearing of masks in public places is still mandatory, and failure to wear a mask when required remains a criminal offence.
- The 33 land border posts that have been closed throughout this period will remain closed, while the other 20 will remain open.
- Only five airports will be open for international travel with standard infection control measures. These are OR Tambo, Cape Town, King Shaka, Kruger Mpumalanga and Lanseria airports.
In his address, Ramaphosa said a year after the virus first reached our shores, we have a clear path towards containing infections and, ultimately, overcoming the disease.
“Within less than a year the global scientific community has developed, tested and produced several vaccines that are safe and effective against the disease.
“South Africa’s scientists and research institutions have made an important contribution to these efforts and have contributed to global knowledge about the disease, including on the emergence of new variants.”
“We have long held the view that a vaccine would be our most decisive measure to combat COVID-19, and to that extent set up processes at a continental and national level to prepare for the availability of an effective vaccine.
“Like many countries, we have now started our vaccination programme.”
The start of South Africa’s vaccination campaign has gone extremely well, according to the president.
All provinces have established vaccination sites and have put in place plans for the expansion of the programme as it gains momentum.
Over 67,000 healthcare workers have been vaccinated so far and once all are covered, phase two of the rollout will see the elderly, those with comorbidities and institutional workers receiving the jab. This was expected to happen around April or May 2021.
The number of sites that will be available for vaccination will be expanded next week from 17 sites to 49 sites.
Of the 49 sites, 32 will be at public hospitals and 17 sites in private hospitals.
This includes sites in rural areas to improve access to rural healthcare workers.
Ramaphosa however cautioned that we cannot let our guard down with regards to vigilance and that we all needed to adhere to protocol to limit the risk of infection.
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