SA reduces COVID-19 restrictions to lowest level


BOUYED by decreasing infection and hospitalisation rates, impressive progress in vaccinating the nation as well as the desire to return to normal, South Africa has relaxed COVID-19 restrictions, unveiling measures aimed at boosting an economy devastated by the pandemic.

In a special address to the nation, SA president Cyril Ramaphosa has announced that the country’s lockdown level has been adjusted to its lowest level. Ramaphosa also announced that the government will be issuing vaccination certificates to those who are fully vaccinated.

Ramaphosa announced that in terms of the new Lockdown Level One, the following restrictions will apply:

  • Sale of alcohol will be permitted but no alcohol can be sold after 11pm.
  • Hours of curfew are now 12 midnight to 4am.
  • Restaurants and bars must close by 11pm.
  • Maximum of people allowed at indoor meetings will increase from 250 to 750.
  • Outside gatherings cannot have more than 2000 people.
  • People allowed at funerals will increase from 50 to 100. 

The president announced that night vigils and gatherings after funerals – “After Tears Parties” – remain banned. The wearing of masks remains mandatory.

Ramaphosa said: “As part of the effort to return the most affected parts of the economy to operation we are looking at further relaxation of restrictions, particularly with respect to sporting and cultural events. As I said earlier, we all long for our freedom back, and if we continue to work together as we have been doing, more areas of activity will open up.

“The Department of Health will soon be rolling out a vaccination certificate, which will provide a secure and verifiable proof of vaccination. It can be used to facilitate travel, access to establishments and gatherings and other forms of activity that require proof of vaccination status. Our approach is informed by World Health Organization guidelines and is in line with international best practice.

“Streamlining and standardising proof of vaccination will also go a long way towards getting a number of international travel restrictions both from and into our country eased. Getting vaccinated is not only about protecting yourself and those around you. It is also about preventing new and more dangerous variants from emerging, as the virus is able to spread and mutate in unvaccinated populations.”

Ramaphosa outlined that SA will place emphasis on administering 16 million vaccines by December, a mark that will enable the country to reach herd immunity. The achievement of this mileage will enable the country to return to close-to-normal social and economic life.

He announced the launch of Operation Vooma, a project aimed at increasing the vaccination rate. Ramaphosa announced his entire cabinet will be out this weekend visiting urban and rural communities in order to get as many people as possible to be vaccinated.

“Our greatest priority now is to ensure that the economy recovers as quickly as possible, so that we can create jobs and help businesses to get back on their feet. The only way that we can do this is if more South Africans choose to get vaccinated, more quickly.

“If the majority of our population is vaccinated, we can declare South Africa to be a safe destination and welcome tourists back over the summer season. We can resume sporting events and concerts, lift restrictions on restaurants and bars, and encourage people to return safely to their workplaces, shops and public spaces.

“If we can reach our vaccination targets by the end of this year, we can avoid further restrictions and kick our economic recovery into high gear. I want to urge you all to take advantage of Vooma Vaccination Weekends.”


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