WRAP: SA moves to Level 3 as country averages 7 500 daily infections over last 7 days

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  • President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced the country will move to a Level 3 lockdown.
  • This as infections continue to rise.
  • Curfew is now from 22:00 to 04:00.

South Africa will move to a Level 3 lockdown in light of rising Covid-19 infections, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced in an address on Tuesday night.

"Since I last spoke to you just over two weeks ago, the average number of daily new infections has doubled. Then, we were recording around 3 700 daily infections.

"Over the last seven days, we have recorded an average of 7 500 daily infections," Ramaphosa said.

The president added hospital admissions due to Covid-19 over the last 14 days were 59% higher than the preceding 14 days.

In addition, the average number of people who died of Covid-19 each day had increased by 48% from 535 two weeks ago to 791 in the past seven days, Ramaphosa said.

He added with the exception of the Northern Cape, all provinces were experiencing rising infections.

ALSO READ | Liquor sales restricted once more as country moves to lockdown level 3

"Four provinces - Gauteng, the Free State, North West, and Northern Cape - are officially in a third wave, while others are approaching that point."

Ramaphosa revealed Gauteng had been hit the worst in terms of new cases and the increase in infections in the province was now "faster and steeper than it was at the same time in previous waves.

"As a result, the country needed to act decisively and quickly to save lives, and this could be done by returning to the basics, he said.

"If we are careful and diligent, we can limit transmissions and bring down the rate of infection.

"The fewer people that are infected at any one time, the fewer people get sick, fewer people need to be hospitalised, fewer people need ICU care, and fewer people need ventilators."

-The hours of curfew will start at 22:00 and end at 04:00.

-Non-essential establishments such as restaurants, bars, and fitness centers will have to close at 21:00 to allow employees the time to travel home before curfew.

-All gatherings are limited to a maximum of 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors. If 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.

-Attendance at funerals and cremations may not exceed 50 people, and all social distancing and health protocols must be observed. Night vigils, after-funeral gatherings, and after-tears gatherings will not be allowed.

-The sale of alcohol from retail outlets for off-site consumption will only be permitted between 10:00 and 18:00 from Monday to Thursday. (This excludes public holidays).

Vaccinations

The president acknowledged the country's vaccination programme had experienced several delays.

He, however, announced 480 000 health workers have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to date as part of Phase 1 of the programme.

As a part of Phase 2, a further 1.5 million health workers and people over the age of 60 have received the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine.

"This brings the total number of people who have received a vaccine dose to almost two million," Ramaphosa said.

FULL SPEECH | Ramaphosa moves SA to Level 3, with tougher restrictions on curfew, gatherings

He added the country was now vaccinating around 80 000 people per day at more than 570 sites in the public and private sector.

"It is estimated that we have the capacity at present to vaccinate at least 150 000 people a day, and we are planning to increase that to 250 000 a day as soon as possible."

Ramaphosa reiterated it remained mandatory for everyone to wear a mask that covered their nose and mouth at all times in public spaces and it was a criminal offence not to do so.

"We have shown that we have the means and the will to fight this virus, and I am more confident than ever that we will succeed," he said.

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