Ramaphosa to address South Africa tonight — stricter lockdown expected

President Cyril Ramaphosa will address South Africa on Sunday at 20:00 regarding the Covid-19 pandemic, the Presidency has confirmed.

“The President’s address follows meetings of the National Coronavirus Command Council, the President’s Coordinating Council & Cabinet. 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 address tonight was expected following comments from acting health minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, and Director-General of the GCIS Phumla Williams.

Kubayi-Ngubane told media yesterday that a special meeting of the National Coronavirus Command Councile (NCCC) convened yesterday morning to receive a report from scientists on the prevalence of the Delta variant in South Africa.

The Delta variant of the coronavirus was first detected in India, and has been reported to be is more transmissible and more virulent than the Beta variant, which has been the dominant variant in South Africa.

The president is expected to announce stricter lockdown restrictions to address the rapid spread of the Delta variant throughout South Africa.

A ban on alcohol and gatherings, and bringing the upcoming school holidays forward were among the new lockdown measures discussed at the NCCC, President’s Coordinating Council, the National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure, and Cabinet.

Head of the Covid-19 Ministerial Advisory Committee (MAC), Koleka Mlisana, said yesterday that harsher regulations on the movement of people and a total ban on gatherings were urgently needed.

“Looking at how quickly this variant actually leads to increased cases, for the provinces other than Gauteng, we are probably talking a matter of days,” Mlisana said at the press briefing.

“We are going to make sure that we get onto hard restrictions, tighter restrictions because obviously what actually increases transmissions is person-to-person contact,” Mlisana said. “It’s going to mean we need to be very decisive.”

Proposals understood to be made during the briefing included banning all gatherings and alcohol sales, bringing the school holidays forward, and further increasingly encouraging work from home where possible.

Now read: Covid-19 variants of concern — and what we know about them

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Ramaphosa to address South Africa tonight — stricter lockdown expected