Ramaphosa eases COVID-19 restrictions as S. Africa sees decline in new infections

FILE PHOTO: Locals line up to get tested for Coronavirus in Pretoria, South Africa, 11 June, 2020. /VCG

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday eased restrictions aimed at curbing further spread of COVID-19 after the country recently saw a decline in new cases.

While addressing the nation on the country’s response to the pandemic, Ramaphosa announced that the country’s nighttime curfew will now begin at 11:00 pm and end at 4:00 am. He also noted that faith-based gatherings will be permitted with strict health protocols.

“Such gatherings may not exceed 50 people for indoor venues and 100 persons for outdoor venues. Where the venue is too small to accommodate these numbers with appropriate social distancing, then no more than 50 per cent of the capacity of the venue may be used,” he said.

Ramaphosa also announced the lifting of a weeks-long ban on alcohol sale.

“Restrictions on the sale of alcohol will be eased. The sale of alcohol by licensed premises for off-site consumption will be permitted from Mondays to Thursdays, from 10am to 6pm,” he said.

South Africa remains to be the hardest hit African country by the COVID-19 pandemic, having reported 1,453,761 infections with 44,164 deaths.

The figures represent 41.36 percent of the continent’s caseload and 49.63 percent of its fatalities.