While addressing the nation on interventions to combat the surge in coronavirus cases, the president extended the National State of Disaster until 15 January 2021, keeping the country of lockdown level one.
FILE: President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: @PresidencyZA/Twitter.
While addressing the nation on interventions to combat the surge in coronavirus cases, the president extended the National State of Disaster until 15 January 2021, keeping the country on lockdown level one.
After growing speculation on how government would tighten protocols to keep infections at bay, Ramaphosa called for cluster outbreaks to be confronted directly.
“There is now clear evidence of a resurgence of infections in parts of our own country, which, if not confronted decisively and directly, could lead to great suffering and death.”
Government is now taking region-specific interventions to curb the spread of COVID-19 – with Nelson Mandela Bay in the Eastern Cape declared a coronavirus hotspot.
The localised restrictions see an introduction of a 10 pm curfew, restricted alcohol sales and smaller social gatherings.
The president said the measures were not meant to punish residents but were a clear warning and deterrent to other areas in the country to take the necessary precautions.
“They are not intended to increase the hardship experienced by our citizens. These measures are needed to contain the spread of the virus and to save lives… When identifying a hotspot, consideration is given to the number of new COVID-19 cases, the testing rate within the population and the number of deaths.”
Ramaphosa said many factors had contributed to the surges, including inter-provincial travel as well as social, cultural and religious gatherings in large numbers.
“This is particularly the case for funerals, which are often followed by large so-called ‘after tears parties’ but by far the greatest contributing cause of infections is that many people are not wearing masks and are not observing proper hygiene and social distancing.”
The president said the total number of hospital admissions was increasing with exhausted healthcare workers in some areas fearful of a system collapse.
“The total number of hospital admissions is now over 5,800 nationally and in some instances they are comparable to those during the first wave of infections.”
South Africa is now ranked 14th among the most affected countries in the world – with more than 800,000 people infected by the virus since March.
Another 4,400 infections were picked up in South Africa over the past day; 94 more people have also died, bringing the death toll in this country to 21,803.
WATCH: These are the additional restrictions for COVID-19 hotspot Nelson Mandela Bay