The Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, has extended South Africa’s national state of disaster to 15 September 2021.
This is “taking into account the need to continue augmenting the existing legislation and contingency arrangements undertaken by organs of state to address the impact of the disaster.”
Dlamini-Zuma is required to extend the national state of disaster every month for the Covid-19 lockdown regulations to remain in effect.
The National Coronavirus Command Council moved South Africa to a lower lockdown level on at the end of last month, relaxing the ban on alcohol and reducing the hours of curfew.
President Cyril Ramaphosa announced South Africa’s move to an adjusted Alert Level 3 lockdown in an address to the nation on 25 July.
Under the adjusted level 3 regulations, alcohol may be sold for off-site consumption between 10:00 to 18:00 from Monday to Thursday.
On-site consumption of alcohol is permitted according to restaurant licence conditions until 20:00 every evening.
Duty-free shops in the international departures area of South African airports will be allowed to sell alcohol without restrictions.
Schools were allowed to reopen and the hours of curfew were reduced to between 22:00 and 04:00.
Non-essential facilities like restaurants, bars, and fitness centres will need to close at 21:00 to allow staff to return home before curfew. Nightclubs must remain closed.
Public gatherings are allowed but limited to 50 people indoors and 100 outdoors. This includes social gatherings, political events, and religious gatherings.
Where venues are too small to accommodate these numbers without adhering to social distancing regulations, they may only admit up to 50% of their capacity.
Employers must continue to encourage working from home where possible.
Attendance at funerals and cremations may not exceed 50 people and all safety and health protocols must be observed.
The reduction of South Africa’s lockdown alert level came amid a decrease in new Covid-19 cases being reported in Gauteng, which was epicentre of South Africa’s third wave outbreak.
While Covid-19 cases have continued to decline, there has been a surge of new cases being reported in the Western Cape.
Cases have also surged in KwaZulu-Natal following a week of public violence and looting in the province’s most populated areas.
The surge in new cases outside Gauteng halted the downward trajectory of South Africa’s third wave.
CSIR researcher Ridhwaan Suliman said on Saturday that the third wave is far from over due to the great contribution in cases from South Africa’s coastal provinces.
On Wednesday, the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) reported that 7,502 new Covid-19 cases were identified in South Africa yesterday, representing an 18.9% positivity rate.
The National Department of Health reported that an additional 573 Covid-19 related deaths were reported, bringing South Africa’s total fatalities to 75,774.
Whilst nationally all indicators on hopeful decline, rate of decline has slowed. This is due to lesser contribution from inland province 📉, but greater contribution from WC, KZN, EC, NC – all still on upward trends📈 pic.twitter.com/HtuaRZRDd0
— Ridhwaan Suliman (@rid1tweets) August 7, 2021