Alcohol banned and schools closed as South Africa moves to level 4 lockdown

President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced that South Africa will move to an adjusted lockdown level 4, with a total ban on the sale of alcohol and gatherings.

In a national address on Sunday 27 June, Ramaphosa announced that the Covid-19 lockdown level of the country will be increased due to the sharp increase in daily infections.

The decision comes after meetings of the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) and health experts over the weekend.

Ramaphosa said the ministerial advisory committee (MAC) has said the country’s measures to date were not sufficient to handle the more transmissible Delta variant of the coronavirus, which he said had now been detected in five provinces.

The provinces affected include the Free State, Eastern Cape, Gauteng, Western Cape, and KwaZulu-Natal.

Ramaphosa said the new variant was rapidly replacing the Beta variant, the mutation that was first detected in South Africa and that has been the dominant variant in the country.

“The rapid spread of this variant is extremely serious,” Ramaphosa stated.

“Even if it is not more severe, the rate at which people are infected could lead to many more people becoming ill and requiring treatment at the same time.”

He added there was rising evidence that people that were previously infected with the Beta variant did not have full protection against the Delta variant and could be reinfected.

Ramaphosa said the seven-day average of new cases has surpassed the peak of the first wave and was approaching the peak of the second wave.

Ramaphosa warned that all indications are that the third wave will be worse than the previous waves, and last longer.

He added that healthcare facilities were being overwhelmed by the third wave.

“In several provinces, our health facilities are stretched to their limits. Private facilities are also buckling under the strain,” Ramaphosa stated.

Due to the surge in cases, lockdown restrictions across the country will be tightened to reduce person-to-person contact.

The revised measures for level 4 include the following:

  • The hours of curfew will now be from 21:00 until 04:00.
  • All non-essential establishments must close by 20:00.
  • All indoor and outdoor gatherings, including religious, social, political, and cultural gatherings, are now prohibited.
  • The sale of alcohol for off-site and on-site consumption is prohibited.
  • Schools will be closed starting from Wednesday up until Friday.
  • Contact classes at tertiary institutions will stop from Wednesday. Residences will remain open.
  • Travelling to and from Gauteng for leisure is prohibited. Transport of goods and services will be permitted. Does not include transit through airports.
  • Attendance at funerals and cremations may not exceed 50 people.
  • Night vigils and other gatherings, before and after funerals, remain prohibited.
  • Night clubs will remain closed.
  • Visits to old age homes and care facilities will be restricted.
  • Restaurants will only be allowed to sell food for take-away or delivery. No sit-downs allowed.
  • Public beaches and parks will remain open, but no gatherings are allowed and social distancing measures must be adhered to.
  • The wearing of masks remains compulsory.

If you are not in your place of residence, you will be allowed to return home.

The move to level 4 lockdown will take effect from Monday 28 June 2021, Ramaphosa said.

The restrictions will remain in place for 14 days, after which government will assess the impact of the measures to determine whether they will be maintained or adjusted.

The tougher restrictions on travel for Gauteng were made necessary by the big surge in Covid-19 cases in the province. According to experts, the surge is likely due to the spread of the Delta variant.

Over the last 24 hour reporting period, 15,036 new cases were recorded from 55,920 tests — a positivity rate of 26.9%.

9,858 of these cases were detected in Gauteng, meaning it accounted for 66% of the total number of daily cases.

A further 122 Covid-19 related deaths were recorded across the country, bringing total fatalities to 59,900.

The table below shows the latest number of new Covid-19 cases and total cases to date in each province in South Africa.

Province New cases Total cases
Eastern Cape 326 205,545
Free State 375 113,317
Gauteng 9,858 620,956
KwaZulu-Natal 763 351,916
Limpopo 732 74,151
Mpumalanga 621 92,914
North West 854 93,071
Northern Cape 197 58,537
Western Cape 1,310 318,490
Total 15,036 1,928,897


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

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Alcohol banned and schools closed as South Africa moves to level 4 lockdown