Lockdown: Ramaphosa assures move to Level 1 is based on science as Vooma vaccination campaign takes off

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  • President Cyril Ramaphosa said moving the country to Level 1 was based on science and not the upcoming elections.  
  • The Vooma Vaccination campaign aims to vaccinate 500 000 people against Covid-19 this weekend. 
  • Ramaphosa says the more people vaccinate, the more restrictions will be relaxed. 

President Cyril Ramaphosa insisted that moving the country to adjusted Level 1 was based on scientific evidence and had nothing to do with the upcoming municipal elections.  

Elections are scheduled for 1 November.  

Speaking during the Covid-19 vaccination drive in Kathlehong, Ekurhuleni, on Friday, Ramaphosa said: "The issue of moving to Level 1 was informed by our scientists. They are the ones who said we have now exited the third wave and we can now relax the restrictions. It is on that guidance that we were able to make the announcement."

READ | Lockdown: Alcohol sales almost normal, restaurants and bars get extended hours

On Thursday night, Ramaphosa announced the country would be moving to Level 1. 

Under Level 1, the curfew is between midnight and 04:00; the number of people who can attend a funeral has been increased to 100; and indoor venues can accommodate 750 people, with 2 000 for outdoor venues. 

"There are a number of people who say, 'do away completely with the state of disaster and let everyone return to normal'. We are guided by science and scientists, and we will not willy-nilly respond to the whims of political leaders or whoever. Science must guide us."

Ramaphosa, Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi and Ekurhuleni mayor Mzwandile Masina were in the Kathlehong as part of the government's Vooma Vaccination drive. 

The government hopes to vaccinate 500 000 people this weekend.

Ramaphosa said the vaccination drive was not linked to electioneering.

"I don't want us to mix vaccinations will elections. The two are completely different. I totally reject the nexus that is trying to be created between the vaccinations and elections. We are here as government officials drumming up support for vaccination. This has been in the making for quite a while. It's largely because the vaccination numbers have been going down and we need to ramp them up. What can be wrong with that?

READ | Lockdown: SA moves to Level 1 as govt set to introduce vaccine certificates

"I reject people who say we are electioneering. This is not about elections. When I electioneer, I wear my ANC T-shirt, my ANC lumber and my language is completely different. We know how to make those divisions."

The president acknowledged that not everyone was happy with restrictions being relaxed, saying:

There are others who think it was premature [to move to Level 1] and there could be a concern that the fourth wave could come. I have no knowledge of that, but we have to be cautious. What we sought to do is create a balance and protect lives and protect livelihoods.

He said the only way the country would ease restrictions further was if the majority got vaccinated.  

"Today, we are here to ramp up the vaccination drive. It is when we have more people vaccinated that we can open more and more. Even if another wave comes, we will be able to navigate our way around that."

He said, despite criticism, the government was trying its best to deal with Covid-19.

"There is no country in the world that can say they have managed it in the most angelic way. We are dealing with a virus that changes all the time. We are doing the best we can to protect the people of South Africa."

If you come across Covid-19 vaccination information that you do not trust, read Covid-19 vaccine myths debunked: Get the facts here. If you can't find the facts you're looking for, email us at the address mentioned in the article and we will verify the information with medical professionals.

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