WATCH | Emotional Ramaphosa's message to SA: 'We let down our guard and are now paying the price'

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  • President Ramaphosa has announced that SA will move to an adjusted Level 3 Lockdown.
  • The President said that "we let our guard down and we are now paying the price".
  • This comes as the country breached 1 million cases on Sunday.

A visibly emotional President Cyril Ramaphosa told the nation on Monday evening that it has let its guard down recently in dealing with life during the Covid-19 pandemic, and as a result the country was now paying the price.

"We have not been wearing masks, we are not washing our hands or sanitising and we are not keeping a safe distance from others.

READ | Covid-19: Here are the latest rules as SA reverts to Level 3

"We have continued to host and attend social gatherings and events that in many cases flout public health regulations," he said.

The President was addressing the nation a day after the country breached the one million mark of recorded cases of Covid-19.

In addition, nearly 27 000 South Africans are known to have died from Covid-19, and more than 50 000 new cases have been reported since Christmas Eve, he said.

"The majority of new cases are emerging in KwaZulu-Natal, the Western Cape, Gauteng, and the Eastern Cape.

"Infections are also alarmingly on the rise in Limpopo. Infections are on the rise in part because, as humans, we are social beings and have a need to socialise with one another," he added.

READ | Covid-19: SA breaches one million cases

As a result, just a few days ahead of New Year Eve, Ramaphosa announced that the country will be moving to an adjusted Level 3 Lockdown which included the following restrictions: 

  • All indoor and outdoor gatherings will be prohibited for 14 days from the date hereof, except for funerals and other limited exceptions as detailed in the regulations, such as restaurants, museums, gyms and casinos. These will further be set out by the Minister in regulations and will be reviewed after that period.2. Funerals may not be attended by more than 50 people with social distancing. 
  • Every business premise must determine the maximum number of staff and customers permitted at any one time based on our social-distancing guidelines and may not exceed that limit.
  • The nationwide curfew will be extended from 9pm to 6am. Apart from permitted workers and for medical and security emergencies, nobody is allowed outside their place of residence during curfew.
  • Non-essential establishments – including shops, restaurants, bars and all cultural venues – must close at 8pm. The list of these establishments will be released shortly. 

According to the President, these adjustments should serve to minimise the risk of super-spreader events even further, decrease unsafe interactions between people, increase the implementation of five key prevention measures, and decrease the burden on healthcare resources.


In addition, Ramaphosa announced that the sale of alcohol from retail outlets, and the on-site consumption of alcohol will not be permitted, as well as the prohibition on consuming alcohol in public spaces like parks and beaches remains."Distribution and transportation will be prohibited with exceptions that will be explained by the minister," he added.Notably, night clubs and businesses engaged in the sale and transportation of liquor will not be allowed to operate.

The Level 3 restrictions will remain in place until 15 January 2021.

Ramaphosa also cautioned that the country was at an extremely dangerous point in the fight against the pandemic. He added:

Unless we act now and unless we act decisively, the number of new infections will far exceed what we experienced during the first wave and thousands more people will lose their lives.

An emotional Ramaphosa further pleaded with the nation, stating that they can and will defeat this pandemic, but only if they each play their part. 

"We all have plans, hopes and dreams for 2021. We want it to be better than the year that has passed, and that was filled with such hardship.

"This can become our common reality if we return to the spirit of solidarity that we have displayed throughout 2020," he said.

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