President Cyril Ramaphosa has extended the National State of Disaster in South Africa, where an increase in COVID-19 infections has sparked massive concern as the festive season begins.
Ramaphosa told South Africans tonight that they are in a fight of their lives and “we can prevent the virus from spreading further, if we take the right steps now”.
This after the President said the National State of Disaster will be extended to January 15, 2021 and declared Nelson Mandela Bay a coronavirus hotspot.
Addressing the nation in a broadcast live on eNCA, Ramaphosa said in addition to Level One regulations there will be additional restrictions from midnight tonight (Thursday) with a curfew from 10pm – 4am.
He said there would be further restrictions in Nelson Mandela Bay, which include:
*Alcohol sales restricted to 10 am to 6pm, Monday to Thursday.
*Alcohol consumption in public spaces is forbidden.
*Religious gatherings indoors restricted to 100 people, 250 outdoors.
*Post funeral gatherings are prohibited.
However, the President said initiations in the Eastern Cape can go ahead.
Ramaphosa said the restrictions in Nelson Mandela Bay are not meant to punish residents, the measures are needed to contain the virus and keep people safe.
He said: “We may get bored with the repetition of the same message. But it must sink into our subconsciousness. Social gatherings can be super-spreader events.”
The President continued: “As the holiday approaches, we can’t let our guard down. More people are going to get infected, more people are going to die. This virus doesn’t relax. It does not take a holiday.”
He also urged taxi operators to make sure passengers are wearing masks.
“Those who break the rules must face consequences,” Ramaphosa warned.
“There’s been a marked rise in new infections, and increased admissions to hospital. 1500 new cases were recorded daily in early November. This figure has almost doubled to 2900 new cases a day,” he explained.
There have been marked increases in Nelson Mandela Bay Metro, the Sarah Baartman municipality and Garden Route.
He explained that funerals and after tears parties have been singled out as problematic gatherings and government is now putting into motion the resurgence plan developed with the World Health Organisation. More capacity is being made available at hospitals in hotspot areas and there will be increased testing.
“We need to think of pandemic as a bushfire – we must quickly extinguish the flames before it turns into a wildfire, like an inferno,” the President said.