President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced that South Africa will move to an adjusted lockdown alert level 2 from Monday, 13 September 2021.
Government will relax restrictions on mass gatherings and the sale of alcohol, and the hours of curfew will be shortened.
Alcohol sales for off-site consumption will be restricted to between Monday and Friday from 10:00 to 18:00.
On-site alcohol consumption at restaurants will still be allowed as per their licence conditions, up to 22:00.
The hours of curfew will be shortened by an hour to between 23:00 and 04:00, and public gatherings will be limited to 250 people indoors and 500 outdoors.
“There is still a need for a curfew,” Ramaphosa stated.
Non-essential facilities like restaurants, bars, and fitness centres will need to close at 22:00 to allow staff to return home before curfew.
“This move [to 250 people indoors] is based on consultations from the medical advisory committee, and the submissions received,” said Ramaphosa.
Where a venue can’t accommodate the full 250 indoors or 500 people outdoors, it is limited to 50% of its rated capacity.
“These measures will be reviewed in two weeks’ time, depending on the status of the pandemic,” Ramaphosa said.
Funerals are restricted to 50 people.
The relaxation in lockdown alert level comes as South Africa appears to have crested the peak of its third wave of coronavirus infections and is seeing a consistent downward trend in new cases and hospitalisations.
South Africa’s vaccination effort has also picked up pace, with over 200,000 doses per day being administered during the week.
Media Hack’s vaccination tracker on The Outlier shows that South Africa has administered an average of 179,998 vaccinations per day over the past week.
According to official statistics, the country had administered 3,229,189 Johnson & Johnson vaccines and 11,461,397 Pfizer-BioNTech doses, for a total of 14,690,586 vaccine doses administered by 17:00 on Sunday.
The Pfizer vaccine requires two shots to be fully effective, and a total of 3,970,216 people have received both shots in South Africa.
South Africa, therefore, has fully vaccinated 7,199,405 individuals.
The National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) said that the current surge in Covid–19 infections seems to show signs of a sustained downward trend.
It reported on Sunday that there were 3,961 new Covid–19 cases in South Africa during the past 24 hours, representing an 11% positivity rate.
The National Department of Health reported a further 126 Covid–19 related deaths had been reported, bringing South Africa’s total fatalities to 84,877 to date.
Senior CSIR researcher Ridhwaan Suliman analysed the past week’s Covid–19 statistics from the NICD, which showed week-on-week declines:
- Cases: –29%
- Tests: –8%
- Test positivity: 12.4%
- Hospitalisations: –23%
- Deaths: –25%
— Ridhwaan Suliman (@rid1tweets) September 12, 2021