This evening President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed the nation regarding COVID-19 in South Africa, providing an update with regard to statistics about the virus, as well as what that means for the current state of adjusted level 3 lockdown.
Given the sharp rise in new daily infections over the festive period, along with record high new fatalities, the president was prompted to keep adjusted level 3 lockdown in place after lengthly discussions with the National Coronavirus Command Council.
President #Ramaphosa: Based on the recommendations of the National Coronavirus Command Council, Cabinet has decided to maintain the country on adjusted alert level 3.
Most of the measures that were announced on 28 December 2020 will therefore remain in place.
— Presidency | South Africa 🇿🇦 (@PresidencyZA) January 11, 2021
At the time of writing, it remains to be seen how long this continued adjusted level 3 lockdown will persist for, as no new date was confirmed during the president’s address. That said, we can use the announced closure of South Africa’s 20 land ports until 15th February as an approximate guideline.
As for any other regulatory changes under level 3 lockdown, the president confirmed that the new curfew times will be 21:00 in the evening until 5:00 in the morning. Looking at the sale of alcohol, it remains banned, with wearing of masks while outdoors continuing to be mandatory, as well as gatherings having strict protocols they need to adhere to.
Unfortunately the bigger question as to when South Africa will begin vaccinating its citizens is still difficult to pin down, as the president said that government plans to secure 20 million vaccines for the country, but could not confirm that they have indeed been secured yet.
He did, however, note that the administering of vaccines will take place in three phases over the course of the year, with frontline healthcare workers receiving it first, followed by essential workers and then the rest of the population.
The hope is that once all the vaccines have been distributed locally, a herd immunity can take effect.
With numbers continuing to rise, and questions still left unanswered as to the state of vaccines, the next month of level 3 lockdown will be tough for many, if not all of the country.
[Image – CC BY ND 2.0 GovernmentZA]