'Covid-19 will remain with us for some time' - Ramaphosa tells the nation

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President Cyril Ramaphosa.  (File photo: GCIS)
President Cyril Ramaphosa. (File photo: GCIS)
  • President Ramaphosa reminded people that the global pandemic is far from over.
  • The president was addressing the nation on the country's response to Covid-19.
  • He also announced an extension of the national state of disaster as well as five days of mourning for victims of Covid-19 and GBVF.

President Cyril Ramaphosa on Wednesday warned the nation that, although the country has endured a lot, the Covid-19 pandemic is far from over.

Citizens, he said, should remain cautious.

"What we are seeing brings home a difficult truth - Covid-19 is far from over. It is very much still here and it will remain with us for some time to come," he said in addressing the nation on Wednesday.

The president was providing an update on South Africa's response to the coronavirus pandemic.

READ | Eastern Cape hospitals fill up again as Covid-19 resurgence takes hold

Ramaphosa said the country had endured the worst of the storm.

SA is now seeing a relatively stable number of new infections and a declining rate of deaths and people needing hospitalisation.

"We owe this to the decisive measures that we took early on in the pandemic, and to the contribution that every South African has made in fighting this virus."We owe this also to the frontline workers, who have selflessly and courageously staffed our medical facilities, gone out into communities to screen and to test, who have maintained peace and stability, and who have kept essential services working," he added.

According to Ramaphosa, to date, South Africa has recorded 742 394 coronavirus cases, with a recovery rate of over 92%. There have been 20 011 confirmed deaths.

While this is a relatively low fatality rate, compared to many other countries, Ramaphosa said South Africa cannot begin to calculate the loss and anguish that these deaths have caused.

"Since the beginning of this crisis, our goal was both to save lives and protect livelihoods. As we rebuild our country in the midst of this pandemic, this must remain our overriding concern," he said.

Ramaphosa announced the extension of the national state of disaster by another month, to the 15th of December 2020, in order to keep prevention measures in place.

Cabinet also decided the nation should observe five days of mourning for the victims of Covid-19 and gender-based violence and femicide (GBVF) - the shadow pandemic.

This will take place from 25-29 November. The national flag will fly at half-mast throughout the country, from 06:00 to 18:00.

"We call upon all South Africans to wear a black armband or other signs of mourning to signify our respect for those who have departed. "We call upon all South Africans to demonstrate their solidarity and to do this in remembrance of our countrymen and women, in recognition of the grief that we share as a nation, and as an affirmation of our determination to overcome this devastating disease," he said.

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