Harsher level 2 lockdown rules coming

South Africa is set to return to lockdown level 2 with tougher restrictions on mass gatherings and stricter enforcement of mask wearing in public and social distancing.

The City Press reported that the limit on indoor gatherings will be reduced from 250 to 100 people while outdoor gatherings will remain at 500.

There are also plans to extend the curfew from the current 00:00 to 04:00 to 22:00 to 06:00, but business and labour will first be asked for input before these times are finalised.

Good news for the alcohol industry is that an outright ban on the sale of liquor is unlikely.

Should there be a surge in hospitalisations, a restriction on the sale of alcohol over weekends could return.

This report comes as President Cyril Ramaphosa is set to address the nation as the number of Covid-19 cases are rapidly increasing.

Acting minister in the presidency, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni said there was growing concern among Ramaphosa’s cabinet around the pandemic.

The cabinet has discussed further lockdown measures with health officials and Ramaphosa is expected to reveal measures that government will put in place to curb the spread.

“We are as cabinet discussing and consulting on the measures to make sure that we protect South Africans,” he said.

“A decision will be taken soon after the consultations and we will announce the date on which the president will hold the family meeting.”

The Department of Health (DoH) said it recommended further lockdown restrictions in a National Coronavirus Command Council meeting on Tuesday.

DoH spokesperson Popo Maja said they followed the advice from scientists on South Africa’s Ministerial Advisory Committee (MAC).

He said the department was greatly concerned about the recent rise in Covid-19 cases, especially as parts of the country have already entered a third wave of infections.

The number of Covid-19 cases has risen sharply over the last few weeks.

In the beginning of April, the number of average Covid-19 daily cases per week was sitting at 789. By the beginning of May, this number increased to 1,548.

Over the following four weeks there was a rapid increase in cases and the average Covid-19 daily cases per week is now 4,574.

There is particular concern about the quick increase in cases in Gauteng, Free State, North West, and Northern Cape.

Professor Adrian Puren from the National Institute of Communicable Diseases said many areas in these provinces are in the midst of a third wave or have not properly exited a second wave.

The chart below, courtesy of Mediahack, shows the increase in Covid-19 cases per province.

Now read: Stricter lockdown rules proposed by MAC

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Harsher level 2 lockdown rules coming