South Africa moves to Level 3 lockdown amid rise in COVID-19 infections

Pedestrians cross Adderly Street in central Cape Town, South Africa, on Monday, Jan. 11, 2021. The pandemic and restrictions imposed to contain it have devastated Africa's most industrialized economy, and the extension of curbs that came into effect at the height of the holiday season bode ill for efforts to engineer a rebound. Photographer: Dwayne Senior/Bloomberg via Getty Images
FILE PHOTO: Pedestrians cross Adderly Street in central Cape Town, South Africa. Photographer: Dwayne Senior/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Tuesday that the cabinet decided to move South Africa to Level 3 lockdown in view of rising infections in the country.

A night curfew will be imposed and will start at 10 pm and end at 4 am.

Some of the other regulations under the Level 3 alert include non-essential establishments like restaurants, bars and fitness centers to close by 9 pm to allow their employees and patrons to travel home before the start of the curfew.

All gatherings to be limited to 50 people indoors and 100 outdoors. Where the venue is too small to accommodate appropriate social distancing, 50% of the floor space may be used

A ban on night vigils after funeral gatherings will be imposed and the sale of alcohol from retail outlets for off-site consumption will only be permitted between 10 am and 6 pm from Monday to Thursday, excluding public holidays.

“The measures we are putting in place now are appropriate to the level of risk and necessary to save lives. In addition, several important measures remain in place,” Ramaphosa stated in his state of the nation address.

He stated that wearing face masks covering their noses and mouths always is mandatory and lack of doing is a criminal offence.

President Ramaphosa said that he understood that South Africans were frustrated about having their freedom restricted, but said that restrictions are necessary for combating the COVID-19 virus.

He added that the country has a ‘mountain to climb’ as it faces the third wave of infections – with daily infections doubling in the last two weeks.

The death toll in the country has increased by 48% from 535 two weeks ago to 791 in the past seven days.

With the exception of the Northern Cape, all provinces in South Africa are experiencing a rise in infections, Ramaphosa said.

South Africa in the last seven days has recorded an average of 7,500 daily infections. Hospital admissions due to COVID-19 over the last 14 days are 59% higher than the preceding 14 days.