South African President Cyril Ramaphosa speaks at the Extraordinary China-Africa Summit on Solidarity against COVID-19 in Pretoria, South Africa, June 17, 2020. The summit, held via video link, was jointly proposed by China, South Africa, the rotating chair of the African Union (AU), and Senegal, the co-chair of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC). (South Africa Presidency/Handout via Xinhua)

The sale of alcohol would be restricted as South Africa would remain at lockdown Alert Level 1 over the Easter holidays, President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Tuesday night.

The ban for alcohol off-site consumption was imposed to stem the spread of COVID-19, he said.”Given the role of alcohol in fuelling reckless behaviour, we will put in place some restrictions over the Easter weekend,” he said, “To this end, the sale of alcohol for off-site consumption will be prohibited this coming Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday.”

However, consumers would be in a position to buy alcohol in places such as restaurants and bars until late at night.Ramaphosa said that religious gatherings would be permitted during this year’s Easter but there would be restrictions. “It has been determined that religious gatherings over this period will be restricted to a total number of 250 people indoors and 500 outdoors,” he noted.

Regarding the vaccination program, he said phase two would commence in mid-May after securing millions of doses from Johnson & Johnson.Negotiations with other vaccine manufacturers including those from China and Russia were ongoing, he said. Up until now, South Africa has recorded over 1.5 million COVID-19 cases with more than 52,000 deaths.

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