President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced that lockdown restrictions in South Africa will be intensified, with the country moving to Covid-19 alert level 2 from tomorrow, Monday 31 May 2021.
Ramaphosa’s address followed meetings of the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC), the President’s Coordinating Council (PCC), and cabinet.
The presidency said the government and social partners are continuously monitoring infection, treatment, and patient recovery rates.
There is also a strong focus on compliance with health regulations and other prevention measures.
Ramaphosa said many gatherings do not adhere to measures like wearing masks, social distancing, and keeping to limits.
Ramaphosa said delaying the spread of the virus is particularly important now as the country has started its vaccination programme.
With the number of daily new Covid-19 cases rising rapidly, the Ministerial Advisory Committee has advised more stringent lockdown restrictions in place.
The president announced that the country will move to adjusted alert level 2 lockdown which include the following:
- The hours of curfew will be extended, running from 23:00 until 04:00.
- Non-essential establishments, like restaurants, bars, and gyms, will be required to close at 22:00.
- Gatherings will be permitted subject to limitations on size and health protocols, including religious, social, political, and cultural gatherings.
- The maximum number of people allowed for indoor gatherings are limited to 100 people. Outdoor gatherings are restricted to 250 people.
- Smaller venues will only be allowed to accommodate 50% of their maximum capacity.
- Funerals are limited to 100 people and 2 hours.
- Night vigils and gatherings where people drink alcohol or play music after a funeral will not be allowed.
- The wearing of masks remains compulsory in all public spaces. It is a criminal offence not to do so.
Rise in Covid-19 cases
The more stringent lockdown rules come after a significant rise in Covid-19 cases over the last few weeks.
Eight weeks ago, the number of average Covid-19 daily cases per week was 789. Within a month it increased to 1,548, and over the last week it was 4,574.
The provinces which are the hardest hit are 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 charts below, courtesy of Mediahack, show the increase in Covid-19 cases.