President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that South Africa will move from alert level 4 to alert level 3 of the national lockdown on 1 June.
The entire country will move to level 3, added the president.
However, the government has identified “coronavirus hotspots” around the country where infections are increasing at a fast pace, which will receive a “differentiated approach”.
These areas currently are major metros, and include:
- Nelson Mandela Bay
- Buffalo City
- Cape Town
Several municipal districts in the Eastern Cape, Western Cape, and KwaZulu-Natal have also been identified as coronavirus hotspots.
“The list of hotspot areas will be reviewed every two weeks, depending on the progression of the virus,” said Ramaphosa.
“Intensive interventions” will be implemented in the areas, he said, including enhanced surveillance and screening.
“Should it be necessary… part of the country could be returned to alert levels 4 or 5 if the spread of infection is not contained despite our interventions.”
Ramaphosa went on to state that the government is aiming to place areas in the county where infections are low on level 2 or level 1.
Good news for exercise
Ramaphosa said that under level 3, more people may return to work and leave their homes to buy goods.
Exercise outside will also be allowed at any time during the day, provided it is not done in groups.
“The curfew and movement of people will be lifted,” said Ramaphosa, adding that alcohol will also be sold for home consumption on specific days and during limited hours.
Restaurants may also open for delivery, collection, and drive-through services.
The sale of cigarettes will remain prohibited during level 3, while all gatherings will remain prohibited – except for funerals and work meetings.
Ramaphosa made this announcement as part of an address to the nation on developments in South Africa’s risk-adjusted strategy to manage the spread of COVID-19.
This address followed recent meetings of Cabinet, the National Coronavirus Command Council, and the President’s Coordinating Council.
Ramaphosa also held consultative meetings with business, labour, leaders of political parties, traditional leaders, and the tourism industry before this announcement.
The country’s 5-level alert system was introduced by Ramaphosa in April as a way to dynamically manage the level of restrictions.
The alert levels are adjusted upwards or downwards based on the rate of transmission and the capacity of the health system to help people who need care.
Ramaphosa gave basic guidelines about the alert levels when they were announced:
- Level 1 means that most normal activity can resume, with precautions and health guidelines followed at all times.
- Level 2 involves the easing of restrictions, but the maintenance of physical distancing and restrictions on some leisure and social activities to prevent a resurgence of the virus.
- Level 3 involves the easing of some restrictions, including on work and social activities, to address the risk of transmission.
- Level 4 means that some activity can resume subject to extreme precautions required to limit community transmission and outbreaks.
- Level 5 means that drastic measures are required to contain the spread of the virus to save lives.
The image below provides an overview of the 5 levels.