South Africa maintains COVID-19 restrictions amid surge in new infections

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BRUSSELS, BELGIUM - NOVEMBER 15; 2018: President of South Africa Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa is talking to media at the end of an EU - South-Africa Summit meeting on climate change, migration to trade and security, in the Europa, the EU Council headquarter on November 15, 2018. (Photo by Thierry Monasse/Getty Images)

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday announced the country will remain on adjusted alert level 3, meaning most of the measures that were announced in late December last year will remain in place.

FILE PHOTO: President of South Africa Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa. (Photo by Thierry Monasse/Getty Images)

While the nationwide curfew remains in place, it will be shortened and will now be effective from 9pm to 5am and not 6am.

Most indoor and outdoor gatherings will not be permitted, including social gatherings, religious gatherings, political events, traditional council meetings and gatherings at sports grounds.

The wearing of protective masks in public remains compulsory and the sale of alcohol from retail outlets and the on-site consumption of alcohol remains banned.

Beaches, dams, lakes, rivers, public parks and public swimming pools in areas designated as hotspots are to be closed. Meanwhile, botanical gardens, national parks and other parks where access control measures and restrictions to entry are in force may remain open to the public.

Ramaphosa also announced the closure of 20 land ports of entry, which are currently open, until February 15 for general entry and departure.

However, there are exemptions to this rule including South African nationals, permanent residents or persons with other valid visas, diplomats, departing foreign nationals among others.

“The pandemic in our country is now at its most devastating. The number of new infections, the number of hospital admissions and the deaths that continue to take place have become far higher than it has ever been since the first case was recorded in our country in March of 2020,” Ramaphosa said.

Ramaphosa also said his administration was working to procure vaccines for the population through three channels: the World Health Organization’s COVAX facility, the African Union’s Vaccine Initiative and direct engagements with vaccine developers and manufacturers.

South Africa has reported more than 1.2 million confirmed cases and more than 33,000 deaths.

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