Earlier this evening President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed the nation with regard to lockdown. It was expected that the president would announce when the country would be moving to Alert Level 1, and he did precisely that.
To that end, South Africa will move to Alert Level 1 at midnight on 20th September. With the midnight wording proving confusing for some in the past, it means that the country will have moved to the new level of lockdown from next week Monday onwards.
With the move, the president confirmed some of the changes to regulations and restrictions that will take place, along with noting which laws will remain the same. Here, masks must still be warn at all times when outside the confines of your home, as well as businesses and public spaces needing to adhere to a 50 percent capacity where possible.
Large crowds pose a greater risk of coronavirus transmission, so it is still necessary to limit the size of gatherings under Level 1 to prevent a spike in new infections. pic.twitter.com/749PuiEZ2x
— Presidency | South Africa ?? (@PresidencyZA) September 16, 2020
There is also a change to the curfew under Alert Level 1, with it shifting to between midnight and 04:00 in the morning.
Other divisive regulations, such as the sale of alcohol have also changed, with sale for home consumption including Friday too. Perhaps the most divisive aspect of the lockdown, cigarette sales, was not touched on by the president during his address.
As such we’ll need to hear from relevant Ministers in the coming days to find out the finer details for regulations and restrictions. With this move being welcomed by most, it remains to be seen how this will impact the rate of COVID-19 infection in the country, with it now sitting on a daily average below 2 000 cases, according to the president.
As with other moves to different lockdown levels, there will likely be much debate regarding the decisions being taken. With it now six months since a national state of disaster was first announced, lockdown has proved a true burden for all.
With more information and gazetting of regulations expected over the coming week, we’ll be tracking any noteworthy changes that impact our readers.