Ramaphosa to address the nation on Monday over COVID-19 response

President Cyril Ramaphosa will deliver an update on government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic during a live address on Monday evening, the Presidency has announced.

“President Cyril Ramaphosa will address the nation at 20h00 today, Monday 1 February 2021, on developments in relation to the country’s response to the Coronavirus pandemic,” the Presidency stated.

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

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

Discussions over alcohol ban

The address will come a day after a report from News24 claimed that government had been in discussions over lifting the alcohol ban which forms part of the current level 3 lockdown restrictions.

Following two previous periods of prohibitions on the sale of alcohol in 2020, government implemented the most recent ban on 29 December.

This was done in an effort to reduce the strain that alcohol-related trauma incidents placed on medical facilities amid the increase in admissions at hospitals with the second wave of the pandemic in South Africa.

The number of daily new COVID-19 cases has declined in recent days, however, with only 4,525 new cases reported on 31 January, a massive drop from the more than 20,000 daily cases earlier in the month.

The seven-day average currently stands at 5,825 cases, down from just over 19,000 during the peak of the second wave. 213 more COVID-19-related deaths were reported over the last 24 hours.

The alcohol ban has taken a toll on restaurants and liquor companies, with SAB two weeks ago cancelling an additional R2.5 billion investment.

This brought the total amount of spending called off by SAB to R5 billion since the first lockdown was announced in March 2020.

Now read: How you will register for a COVID-19 vaccine in South Africa

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Ramaphosa to address the nation on Monday over COVID-19 response