Ramaphosa moves SA to lockdown Level 1

South Africa opens doors for the world but with restrictions

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Munashe Rungano

Capetown –After consultation with various stakeholders, Cabinet has decided that South Africa should move to Alert Level 1 from midnight on Sunday.

President Cyril Ramaphosa updated the nation on Wednesday evening on developments in government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The president said that the country has ‘withstood the storm’ in its fight against the coronavirus and that the data shows a clear downward trend in the country.

“We have succeeded in overcoming the worst phase of this epidemic while protecting the capacity of our health system.This achievement has also been recognised by the World Health Organisation, which has been working closely with us to strengthen our response” he said

However, he cautioned that ‘by any measure we are still in the midst of a deadly epidemic’ and said that the most important task is ensuring that the country is not hit by a second wave of infections as is being seen internationally.

To help prevent a possible second wave, Ramaphosa said that the government will expand its testing to include more categories of people.

“Effective testing and contact tracing systems will allow us to quicklyidentify and contain outbreaks before they spread further” he added

On re-opening the borders the president said that restrictions on international travel would be gradually lifted.

“We will be allowing travel into and out of South Africa for business, leisure and other travel with effect from 1 October 2020,” Ramaphosa said.

Screening of international travellers at airports and border crossings will be conducted to prevent infected visitors from entering the country and contributing to the spread of the virus.

International travel will be limited to particular border posts and airports.

“We are ready to open our doors again to the world and invite travellers to enjoy our mountains, our beaches, our vibrant cities and our wildlife game parks in safety and confidence,” Ramaphosa said.

The hours of the curfew have been changed. The curfew will now apply between midnight and 4am.

The sale of alcohol at retail outlets for home consumption is now permitted from Monday to Friday, from 9am to 5pm.

Alcohol will be permitted for on-site consumption in licensed establishments only and with strict adherence to the curfew.

The updated regulations will be published and ministers will provide detailed briefings soon.

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