President Ramaphosa to address the nation tonight

President Cyril Ramaphosa will address the country at 20:00 on Monday 11 January regarding the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“President Cyril Ramaphosa will address the nation at 20:00 today, Monday 11 January 2021, on developments in relation to the country’s response to the coronavirus pandemic,” the Presidency said in a statement.

“The address follows meetings in recent days of the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC), the President’s Coordinating Council (PCC) and Cabinet.”

The Presidency also stated that Ramaphosa had hosted a virtual engagement on Sunday 10 January 2020 between government and interfaith leaders on the COVID-19 Risk-Adjusted Strategy, which it said is an inclusive national effort that enables adaptive responses to the shifting pandemic.

“This engagement focused on the unfolding pandemic in the country and on the continent, including efforts to secure vaccines for all,” the Presidency said.

“The President’s address will be broadcast and streamed on a range of platforms that are accessible to South Africans and international audiences.”

Ramaphosa’s last address was on 28 December, when he announced a return to level 3 lockdown as well as an immediate ban on the sale of alcohol in South Africa.

Experts call for stricter lockdown measures

Health experts have called for stricter lockdown measures to reduce the load on the national healthcare system.

Speaking to the Sunday Times, health experts said that another spike in COVID-19 cases could be mitigated if Gauteng is moved to lockdown level 4 for a period of 21 days.

They cited concerns around an anticipated influx of holidaymakers heading back home at the end of the festive season, which could lead to a spike in cases in the country over the next three to six weeks.

“Gauteng is so densely populated it’s already a superspreader event by design. I worry that cases in Gauteng are going to rise much higher than the peaks in KZN and the Western Cape, as we’ve already seen in the first surge,” said University of Kwa-Zulu Natal Professor Mosa Moshabela.

“The most important thing right now is to stop new infections. Every new infection we prevent is less pressure on our limited resources – hospital beds, oxygen, and our healthcare workers. If Gauteng has to move to level 4 for 21 days to prevent new infections, they should do it. We need everything at our disposal to stop new infections.”

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President Ramaphosa to address the nation tonight