South African reintroduces tough anti-COVID-19 measures in response to second wave

AFRICAN MIRROR REPORTER

THE resurgence of a COVID-19 second wave has forced South Africa to reintroduce tough measures in the Nelson Mandela Bay in Eastern Cape, an area which has seen new high infection rates which has led to overwhelmed hospitals.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the measures, in a special address to the nation, which will apply to the Nelson Mandela Bay, which has been declared a COVID-19 hotspot. He said the government would assess the Sarah Baartman region in the Eastern Cape and the Garden Route region in the Western Cape, which have also shown signs of a rising second wave. 

The restriction on Nelson Mandela Bay include:

  • Alcohol sales will be restricted to 10am – 6pm, Monday to Thursday.
  • No alcohol will be consumed in public spaces, including parks and beaches.
  • A curfew from 10pm to 4am.
  • Religious gatherings will be restricted to 100 indoors and 250 outdoors.
  • After funeral events, popularly referred to as “After Tears”, are prohibited.
  • Summer initiation schools prohibited from operating.

Ramaphosa said: “We must change our behaviour now to prevent a resurgence of the virus and manage outbreaks wherever they occur. If we think of this pandemic like a bush fire, we need to quickly extinguish the flare ups before they turn into an inferno. At the same time, we need to do all we can to keep the economy open and to push ahead with our reconstruction and recovery effort.

“In line with our differentiated approach to the management of the pandemic, we will therefore implement additional measures in those areas identified as coronavirus hotspots. When identifying a hotspot, consideration is given to the number of new COVID-19 cases per day, the testing rate within the population, the percentage positivity rate within the population, the number of active cases, the number of hospital admissions and the number of deaths. 

“These additional measures are necessary to contain the resurgence in Nelson Mandela Bay, to prevent outbreaks resulting from social gatherings and to protect the capacity of the healthcare system to provide care to those who need it.  In determining these restrictions, we have sought to take those steps which are absolutely necessary to save lives while limiting disruptions to the economy.”