South Africa decided to return to stricter COVID-19 restrictions amid a rise in infection cases and a 59% increase in hospitalizations over the past two weeks, President Cyril Ramaphosa said.
“In view of the rising infections, we have therefore decided to move the country to Alert #Level3. This will take effect later this evening once the regulations have been gazetted,” the president tweeted late on Tuesday.
According to the thread of tweets, the new restrictions include an extended curfew from 10.00 p.m. to 4.00 a.m. and a 9 p.m. curfew for all non-essential businesses. In addition, all gatherings will be limited to a maximum of 50 people indoors and 100 outdoors.
Ramaphosa said that the average number of people who die from COVID-19 every day has increased by 48% — from 535 two weeks ago to 791 last week. Additionally, over the past two weeks hospital admissions have increased by 59%.
“We will not be daunted by the size or the complexity of the task before us. We can now see a path towards overcoming this pandemic. But there is still much that we need to do,” he said.
According to the president, South Africa has the capacity to vaccinate at least 150,000 people per day and is planning to increase that number to 250,000. By the end of the month, the country expects to receive 2 million vaccine doses from Johnson & Johnson and 3.1 million doses from Pfizer, of which 2.4 million doses have already arrived.