South Africa is imposing new restrictions to curb the third wave of the coronavirus disease, as well as the spread of the Delta variant, President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Sunday.
According to the country’s leader, the new variant has been detected in five provinces and is displacing the Beta variant as the dominant one.
“Based on scientific advice we received from the Ministerial Advisory Committee and further consultation with our provinces and metros and traditional leaders, and on the recommendation of the National Coronavirus Command Council, Cabinet has decided that the country should move to Adjusted Alert Level 4. Cabinet decided that to ensure that our response is appropriate and proportionate to the current situation, the additional restrictions we are announcing this evening will be in place for the next 14 days,” Ramaphosa said in a statement.
The measures that will become effective on June 28 include a ban on all gatherings, except for funerals and cremations, which must have no more than 50 people in attendance. A curfew will be in place from 9 p.m. to 4.a.m. local time (19:00 to 02:00 GMT), with all non-essential facilities to be closed by 8 p.m. (18:00 GMT). Catering establishments will be allowed to sell food only for take-away or delivery. The sale of alcohols will be prohibited. The schools will begin closing from June 30, with all of them expected to be closed by July 2.
“Because of the burden of infections in Gauteng, travel in and out of the province for leisure purposes will be prohibited. This does not include work, business or commercial travel, transit through airports or for the transport of goods. If you are currently not in your place of residence, you will be allowed to return home to or from Gauteng,” Ramaphosa added.
The authorities also decided to expand the reach of its vaccination program, with citizens aged 50 and older will soon be able to receive their jabs. The country has vaccinated almost 2.7 million people.